Poor fetal and infant nutrition has been linked to impaired glucose tolerance in later life. We studied the effect of protein deficiency during gestation and the suckling period in a rat model and found that poor nutrition ‘programmes’ pancreatic β-cell GK (glucokinase; known as the glucose sensor) and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion response in newborn, suckling and adult rat offspring. Pregnant female rats were divided into three groups: a control group was kept on a normal protein (20%) diet, another group was fed a low-protein (LP) (6%) diet during gestation and suckling periods (LP-G + S group) and another was fed a LP diet during gestation then a normal protein diet during the suckling period (LP-G group). The pulsatile glucose-stimulated insulin secretion response was acutely disrupted and the peak insulin secretion was markedly decreased in newborn and 3-week-old offspring of the LP-G + S group compared with the control group. Also, there was an altered pulsatile secretory response in adults of the LP-G + S and 3-week-old and adult offspring of the LP-G groups compared with the control group. GK protein levels, detected by Western blotting, were decreased in newborn and 3-week-old offspring of both LP-G + S and LP-G groups compared with the control groups. The Km and Vmax of GK were altered. The prenatal and postnatal LP diet appeared to have a permanent effect in increasing the affinity of GK for glucose (indicated by decreased Km values) and decreasing the Vmax. This showed that the critical period of programming of the function of GK was after birth and during the postnatal weaning period, since the adult offspring of the LP-G + S group when fed a normal protein diet showed no reversal in the Km values of the enzyme. Similar experiments in adult offspring of the LP-G group showed normalization of the Km values of GK at 3 weeks of age. In conclusion, fetal and infantile nutrition ‘programmes’ pancreatic β-cell function; poor nutrition during this period caused irreversible effects on glucose homoeostatic mechanisms in the offspring, which may predispose the offspring to diabetes in later life.
Programming of defective rat pancreatic β-cell function in offspring from mothers fed a low-protein diet during gestation and the suckling periods
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Wendy E. HEYWOOD, Nasi MIAN, Peter J. MILLA, Keith J. LINDLEY; Programming of defective rat pancreatic β-cell function in offspring from mothers fed a low-protein diet during gestation and the suckling periods. Clin Sci (Lond) 1 July 2004; 107 (1): 37–45. doi: https://doi.org/10.1042/CS20030350
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