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Low birth weight and diabetes.

Using a mouse model, researchers at the Joslin Diabetes Center investigated how undernourishment during pregnancy leads to metabolic defects such as insulin resistance and insulin secretory dysfunctions, which are key contributors that increase the risk for type II diabetes in later life.

80-90% of low birth weight (LBW) human babies experience 'catch-up growth', that is, they grow to be of comparable weight to their normal birth weight peers. But they are at an increased risk for obesity. The mice in this study also experienced 'catch-up growth', but did not become obese. They did, however, show a severe glucose intolerance. These mice, who were undernourished in the womb, were not able to compensate for age-related insulin resistance and thus developed glucose intolerance. Dr. Mary-Elizabeth Patti, assistant investigator for the study, stated "The bottom line is that if you don't have delivery of enough nutrients from the mother to the baby, the baby's pancreatic cells will be programmed abnormally." If the mother is compromised in her nutrition, the growing fetus will adapt while in the womb, a process called 'programming'. While this is beneficial in the short term, in the long term, those adaptations may lead to metabolic disorders and increased disease risk later in life.

Diabetes, March 2005
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Title Annotation:Pregnancy And Birth
Publication:Special Delivery
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 22, 2005
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