Aortic and ventricular dilation and myocardial reduction in gestation day 17 ICR mouse fetuses of diabetic mothers

Juan claudio Gutierrez, Terry C. Hrubec, M. Renee Prater, Bonnie J. Smith, Larry E. Freeman, Steven D. Holladay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Maternal diabetes mellitus is associated with increased fetal teratogenesis, including cardiovascular defects. Information regarding cardiovascular changes in late-gestation fetal mice, related to maternal hyperglycemia, is not present in the literature. METHODS: Late-gestation fetal heart and great vessel morphology were analyzed in fetuses from control and diabetic mice. Female ICR mice were injected with streptozocin (200 mg/kg IP) prior to mating to induce diabetes (n = 8). Nonhyperglycemic females were used as controls (n = 8). At day 17 of gestation, females were euthanized and one fetus was arbitrarily selected per litter to analyze the heart and great vessels. Six additional fetuses from different litters, showing external malformations (spina bifida and/or exencephaly), were also evaluated from the diabetic group. Fetal thoraxes were processed using routine histopathologic techniques, and 7-μm transversal sections were stained with hematoxylin-eosin. Digital images of sections were made and analyzed using NIH Image J software to compare regional cardiac development. Student's t tests for means were performed to determine differences between groups (p < .05). RESULTS: Maternal hyperglycemia caused a dilation of late-gestation fetal ventricular chambers, a reduction of total ventricular myocardial area, and an increase in transversal ascending thoracic aortic area. Three of six fetuses that displayed external malformations showed an overt cardiac defect, beyond the ventricular and myocardial changes. CONCLUSIONS: Maternal hyperglycemia altered morphology of the late-gestation fetal mouse heart. Postnatal persistence or consequences of late-gestation heart chamber dilation and myocardial reduction are not yet known.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)459-464
Number of pages6
JournalBirth Defects Research Part A - Clinical and Molecular Teratology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardiovascular malformations
  • Maternal diabetes mellitus
  • Type I diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology


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