Selected principles of perinatal-neonatal glucose metabolism

Semin Neonatol. 2004 Feb;9(1):37-47. doi: 10.1016/S1084-2756(03)00113-1.


While the fetus is completely dependent on his/her mother for glucose and other nutrient transfer across the placenta, the adult is completely independent, especially one who is neither pregnant nor diabetic. The neonate is considered to be in a transition between the complete dependence of the fetus and the complete independence of the adult. The heterogeneity that is the hallmark of neonatal glucose metabolism is illustrated by the observation that maintenance of euglycaemia in the sick and/or low-birthweight neonate is especially difficult. This reinforces the concept that the neonate is vulnerable to carbohydrate disequilibrium. In this discussion, we shall first evaluate the definition of euglycaemia by considering the ranges for hypo- and hyperglycaemia. We shall also review the considerable literature that has been published on measurement of the rate of glucose production and the rate of glucose utilization in the neonate. This review highlights where further work is necessary to understand the developing maturation (i.e. control) of glucose homeostasis in the neonate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fetus / metabolism*
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / embryology
  • Hyperglycemia / physiopathology
  • Hypoglycemia / embryology
  • Hypoglycemia / physiopathology
  • Infant, Newborn / metabolism*
  • Liver / embryology*
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glucose