Glucose transporter-1-deficient mice exhibit impaired development and deformities that are similar to diabetic embryopathy

Charles W. Heilig, Thomas Saunders, Frank C. Brosius, Kelle Moley, Kathleen Heilig, Raymond Baggs, Li Rong Guoll, David Conner

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The hyperglycemia of maternal diabetes suppresses the glucose transporter-1 (GLUT1) facilitative glucose transporter 49-66% in preimplantation embryos. Glucose uptake is reduced and apoptosis is activated. We hypothesized that the reduction of embryonic GLUT1 may play a key role in the malformations of diabetic embryopathy. Therefore, we produced GLUT1-deficient transgenic mice [i.e., antisense-GLUT1 (GT1AS)] to determine whether GLUT1 deficiency alone could reproduce the growth defects. Early cell division of fertilized mouse eggs injected with GT1AS was markedly impaired, P < 0.001 vs. controls. Two populations of preimplantation embryos obtained from GT1AS × GT1AS heterozygote matings exhibited reduction of the 2-deoxyglucose uptake rate: one by 50% (presumed heterozygotes, P < 0.001 vs. control) and the other by 95% (presumed homozygotes, P < 0.001 vs. heterozygotes). Embryonic GLUT1 deficiency in the range reported with maternal diabetes was associated with growth retardation and developmental malformations similar to those described in diabetes-exposed embryos: intrauterine growth retardation (31.1%), caudal regression (9.8%), anencephaly with absence of the head (6.6%), microphthalmia (4.9%), and micrognathia (1.6%). Reduced body weight (small embryos, <70% of the nontransgenic body weight) was accompanied by other malformations and a 56% reduction of GLUT1 protein, P < 0.001 vs. nonsmall embryos (body weight <70% normal). The heart, brain, and kidneys of embryonic day 18.5 GT1AS embryos exhibited 24-51% reductions of GLUT1 protein. The homozygous GT1AS genotype was lethal during gestation. Reduced embryonic GLUT1 was associated with the appearance of apoptosis. Therefore, GLUT1 deficiency may play a role in producing embryonic malformations resulting from the hyperglycemia of maternal diabetes. Late gestational macrosomia was absent, apparently requiring a different mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)15613-15618
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number26
StatePublished - Dec 23 2003
Externally publishedYes

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