Does glucose administration affect the cerebral response to fetal asphyxia?

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 1984;63(4):345-53. doi: 10.3109/00016348409155529.


This study was designed to test whether the fetal brain has an increased resistance towards asphyxia at high levels of blood-glucose, compared with low levels. 35 fetal sheep were exteriorized and investigated under general anesthesia. Cerebral blood flow (CBF) was estimated with the 133Xenon-washout method. Cerebral uptake of oxygen, glucose, and lactate was measured. Somatosensory evoked potentials (SEP) were recorded. The fetuses were subjected to controlled asphyxia by ventilating the ewes with gas mixtures low in oxygen. The blood sugar levels of the fetuses were varied over a four-fold range. During normal oxygenation of the fetus variations in the blood glucose concentration induced considerable changes in the cerebral glucose uptake, whereas CBF and oxygen uptake were unaffected. During asphyxia, hyperglycemia was associated with rapid development of acidosis and reduction in cerebral oxygen consumption together with deterioration of the neurophysiological characteristics of the brain. Far from being beneficial during asphyxia, fetal hyperglycemia appeared to reduce the tolerance of the fetal brain towards asphyxia. This report together with other evidence provides support for the view that extra glucose might be disadvantageous for the asphyxiated fetus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Brain / embryology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Carbon Dioxide / blood
  • Cerebral Cortex / drug effects*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / drug effects
  • Evoked Potentials, Somatosensory / drug effects
  • Female
  • Fetal Hypoxia / metabolism
  • Fetal Hypoxia / physiopathology*
  • Glucose / administration & dosage*
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lactates / metabolism
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Oxygen Consumption / drug effects
  • Partial Pressure
  • Pregnancy
  • Sheep


  • Blood Glucose
  • Lactates
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Glucose
  • Oxygen