The prevalence of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is increasing rapidly. In addition to the metabolic disease risks, GDM might increase the risks of cryptorchidism in children. However, its mechanism involved in abnormalities of the male reproductive system is still unclear. The purpose of this study was to study the effects of GDM on the development of mouse fetal Leydig cells (FLCs) and Sertoli cells (SCs). Pregnant mice were treated on gestational days 6.5 and 12.5 with streptozotocin (100 mg/kg) or vehicle (sodium citrate buffer). Leydig cell and SC development and functions were evaluated by investigating serum testosterone levels, cell number and distribution, genes, and protein expression. GDM decreased serum testosterone levels, the anogenital distance, and the level of desert hedgehog in SCs of testes of male offspring. FLC number was also decreased in testes of GDM offspring by delaying the commitment of stem Leydig cells into the Leydig cell lineage. RNA-seq showed that FOXL2, RSPO1/β-catenin signaling was activated and Gsk3β signaling was inhibited in GDM offspring testis. In conclusion, GDM disrupted reproductive tract and testis development in mouse male offspring via altering genes related to development.
Keywords: GDM; Sertoli cell; differentiation; fetal Leydig cell; testosterone.
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