Sumary of Researchers identify mechanism behind structural birth defects in fetuses of mothers with diabetes:
- More than 3 million women of birthing age in the U.S. and 60 million in the world have diabetes-;a disease that occurs when blood sugar is too high.
- Even when controlled with insulin, and blood sugar levels are kept mostly in check, maternal diabetes can cause permanent damage to the fetus.
- About 300,000 to 400,000 fetuses per year from mothers with diabetes develop neural tube defects-;when the tissue that eventually forms the brain and spinal cord fails to form properly-;which can lead to miscarriage or profound disability.
- Now using studies in mice, University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) researchers have identified the mechanism behind these structural birth defects, which they say is due to the neural tissue aging prematurely, halting its growth before it has made enough cells to finish forming the neural tube.
- Although diabetes is a disease generally associated with an older population, the modern diabetes epidemic in young people is largely fueled by obesity and inactivity.
- At the same time, many aging-related diseases are impacted by diabetes, and we now know that high blood glucose seems to induce or enhance premature embryonic aging.
- For many decades, our hypothesis was that premature aging, known as senescence, was occurring in the fetuses of mothers with diabetes, and was, in part, inducing these birth defects.
- ” Dr. Peixin Yang, PhD, Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences Finding the precise mechanism for how maternal diabetes leads to these and other kinds of birth defects in the fetus is the first step to identifying a way to prevent these abnormalities from occurring.