Scientists at Joslin Diabetes Center have discovered one reason why infants with low birth weight have a high potential of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. In studies of mice, the researchers found that poor prenatal nutrition impairs the pancreass ability to later secrete enough insulin in response to blood glucose.
"The bottom line is that if you dont have delivery of enough nutrients from the mother to the baby, the babys pancreatic cells will be programmed abnormally," said principal investigator Mary-Elizabeth Patti, M.D., Assistant Investigator in Joslins Research Section on Cellular and Molecular Physiology and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. "The effect doesnt show up until later on -- usually not until adolescence or adulthood.
"Many people believe we dont have much of a prenatal nourishment problem in the United States," she added. "But poor nutrition of a developing baby can occur in many ways other than inadequate nutrition of the mother. It also can occur with abnormal development of the placenta and its blood vessels, or high blood pressure, which damages vessels." In addition, many other factors can result in intrauterine growth restriction and low birth weight.
Marjorie Dwyer | EurekAlert!
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