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Experimental Diabesity Research
Volume 4 (2003), Issue 2, Pages 107-118

Different Diabetogenic Response to Moderate Doses of Streptozotocin in Pregnant Rats, and Its Long-Term Consequences in the Offspring

1Facultad de Ciencias Experimentales y de la Salud, Universidad San Pablo–CEU, Madrid, Spain
2Universidad San Pablo–CEU, Ctra. Boadilla del Monte km 5, 300, E-28668 Boadilla del Monte, Madrid, Spain

Received 12 May 2002; Accepted 3 March 2003

Copyright © 2003 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Diabetes during pregnancy results in congenital malformations and long-term postnatal diseases. Experimental models are still needed to investigate the mechanism responsible for these alterations. Thus, by the administration of different doses of streptozotocin (STZ) (0, 25, 30, or 35 mg/kg body weight, intravenous) at the onset of pregnancy in rats, the present study sought an appropriate animal model for this pathology. At day 6 of pregnancy, plasma glucose was progressively higher with an increasing STZ dose, and in rats receiving the 35-mg dose, 2 subgroups were detected: some animals had plasma glucose levels above controls but below 200 mg/dL (mildly diabetic, MD), whereas others had levels above 400 mg/dL (severely diabetic, SD). At day 20 of pregnancy, the MD rats had normal glycemia, but after an oral glucose load (2 g/kg body weight), plasma glucose increased more and insulin increased less than in controls. The SD rats maintained their hyperglycemia and had a greatly impaired oral glucose tolerance. At day 20, fetuses of SD dams were fewer, weighed less, and had enhanced plasma glucose and triglycerides and decreased insulin, whereas those from MD dams did not differ from controls. At birth, newborns from MD dams had higher body weight, plasma insulin, and liver triglycerides as well as total body lipid concentrations than controls, and on day 21, remained macrosomic and showed higher plasma glucose and liver triglyceride concentrations. At 70 days of age, offspring of MD dams had impaired oral glucose tolerance but normal plasma insulin change in the case of females, whereas plasma insulin increased less in males. These alterations were manifest more in those offspring from dams that had > 50% macrosomic newborns than in those from dams that had < 50% macrosomic newborns. In conclusion, whereas our MD rats mimic the changes taking place in gestational diabetic women and show the long-term risk of macrosomia, the SD rats are more similar to uncontrolled diabetics. Thus these two rat models, obtained with moderate amounts of STZ, could be used to study the pathophysiological consequences of these different diabetic conditions.