Elevated Blood-Sugar Levels during Pregnancy Can Affect Heart Cells in Babies

According to the new study, recently published in the Journal eLife. US researchers have found how high glucose levels can impact heart development of infants born to women with diabetes. When developing heart cells are presented to high glucose levels, they produce an excessive number of building blocks of DNA.

Rather than to developing, these cells continue reproducing, and specialists believe this finding could form a basis for avoiding congenital heart disease in women with diabetes.

Lead author Atsushi Nakano, from the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) said, “High glucose levels are not just unhealthy for adults; they’re unhealthy for developing fetuses”.

“Understanding the mechanism by which high glucose levels cause disease in the fetus may eventually prompt new treatments.”

Pregnant women with diabetes can decrease the risk of their child experiencing health complications by eating a healthy diet and keeping up safe glucose control.

In this examination, the effects of high glucose levels were examined as specialists used human embryonic stem cells to develop heart muscle cells which were then presented to changing levels of glucose.

The cells mixed with large amounts of glucose developed late or failed to develop at all, however those presented to small measures of glucose developed normally.

Nakano said, “By depleting glucose at the right point being developed, we can limit the multiplication of the cells, which coaxes them to develop and makes the heart to muscle stronger”.

The examination group observed comparable discoveries in pregnant mice with diabetes, with heart cells of fetuses multiplying and dividing rapidly but maturing gradually.

Nakano and colleagues concluded that targeting on the pathways affected by glucose could improve cell maturity in future research, and decrease the risk of congenital heart disease, which is related with maternal hyperglycemia (high glucose levels in the mother).

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