Effect of a low protein diet during pregnancy on the fetal rat endocrine pancreas

Biol Neonate. 1990;57(2):107-18. doi: 10.1159/000243170.


The administration of a low protein (LP, 8% protein/dry matter) but isocaloric diet to gestating rats did not affect their fertility, but slightly reduced the quantity of food intake as well as body weight gain. The LP diet also did not affect the placental weight, but the weight of the offspring was decreased. Accordingly the fetal endocrine pancreas was altered by the LP diet. Two different morphometric analyses showed that in the LP neonate B-cell proliferation and islet size were reduced in the head of the pancreas. In the pancreatic tail, these parameters were also decreased but to a lesser extend. Islet vascularization in the neonates was dramatically reduced in both parts of the pancreas when the mothers were fed with the LP diet.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Body Weight
  • Dietary Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Fetal Organ Maturity / drug effects
  • Islets of Langerhans / cytology
  • Islets of Langerhans / embryology*
  • Islets of Langerhans / growth & development
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange*
  • Organ Size
  • Pregnancy
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Weight Gain / drug effects


  • Dietary Proteins