Fetal hypoxemia decreases insulin and increases cortisol and norepinephrine concentrations and may restrict growth by decreasing glucose utilization and altering substrate oxidation. Specifically, we hypothesized that hypoxemia would decrease fetal glucose oxidation and increase lactate and pyruvate production. We tested this by measuring whole body glucose oxidation and lactate production, and molecular pathways in liver, muscle, adipose, and pancreas tissues of fetuses exposed to maternal hypoxemia for 9 days (HOX) compared with control fetal sheep (CON) in late gestation. Fetuses with more severe hypoxemia had lower whole body glucose oxidation rates, and HOX fetuses had increased lactate production from glucose. In muscle and adipose tissue, expression of the glucose transporter GLUT4 was decreased. In muscle, pyruvate kinase (PKM) and lactate dehydrogenase B (LDHB) expression was decreased. In adipose tissue, LDHA and lactate transporter (MCT1) expression was increased. In liver, there was decreased gene expression of PKLR and MPC2 and phosphorylation of PDH, and increased LDHA gene and LDH protein abundance. LDH activity, however, was decreased only in HOX skeletal muscle. There were no differences in basal insulin signaling across tissues, nor differences in pancreatic tissue insulin content, b-cell area, or genes regulating b-cell function. Collectively, these results demonstrate coordinated metabolic responses across tissues in the hypoxemic fetus that limit glucose oxidation and increase lactate and pyruvate production. These responses may be mediated by hypoxemiainduced endocrine responses including increased norepinephrine and cortisol, which inhibit pancreatic insulin secretion resulting in lower insulin concentrations and decreased stimulation of glucose utilization.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism|
|State||Published - Feb 2022|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Physiology (medical)