Children from diabetic pregnancies have a greater incidence of type 2 diabetes. Our objective was to determine if exposure to mild-moderate hyperglycemia, by modeling managed diabetic pregnancies, affects fetal β-cell function. In sheep fetuses, β-cell responsiveness was examined after 2 weeks of sustained hyperglycemia with 3 pulses/day, mimicking postprandial excursions, and compared to saline-infused controls (n=10). Two pulsatile hyperglycemia (PHG) treatments were studied: mild (mPHG, n=5) with +15% sustained and +55% pulse; and moderate (PHG, n=10) with +20% sustained and +100% pulse. Fetal glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and glucose-potentiated arginine insulin secretion were lower (P<0.05) in PHG (0.86±0.13 and 2.91±0.39 ng/ml plasma insulin) but not in mPHG fetuses (1.21±0.08 and 4.25±0.56 ng/ml) compared to controls (1.58±0.25 and 4.51±0.56 ng/ml). Islet insulin content was 35% lower in PHG and 35% higher in mPHG vs controls (P<0.01). Insulin secretion and maximally stimulated insulin release were also reduced (P<0.05) in PHG islets due to lower islet insulin content. Isolated PHG islets also had 63% greater (P<0.01) reactive oxygen species (ROS) accumulation at 11.1 mmol/l glucose than controls (P<0.01), but oxidative damage was not detected in islet proteins. PHG fetuses showed evidence of oxidative damage to skeletal muscle proteins (P<0.05) but not insulin resistance. Our findings show that PHG induced dysregulation of islet ROS handling and decreased islet insulin content, but these outcomes are independent. The β-cell outcomes were dependent on the severity of hyperglycemia because mPHG fetuses had no distinguishable impairments in ROS handling or insulin secretion but greater insulin content.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism