Diabetes in pregnancy: uterine blood flow and embryonic development in the rat

Pediatr Res. 1995 Oct;38(4):598-606. doi: 10.1203/00006450-199510000-00021.


The uterine blood flow to individual implantation sites was evaluated in early normal and diabetic rat pregnancy, and related to maternal metabolic state, length of gestation, and embryonic outcome. The aim was to search for a possible coupling between the flow rate and embryonic development. We studied pregnant rats of a malformation-prone Sprague-Dawley strain on gestational d 9, 10, 11, and 12, a time period which roughly corresponds to postconception wk 3-6 in human gestation. The blood flow in the uterus was estimated with the aid of a microsphere technique, and the embryos were evaluated with respect to morphology and uterine position. We found increased blood flow in the uterine and decidual tissue of the pregnant diabetic animals compared with normal pregnant rats on all days studied. The blood perfusion peaked on gestational d 10, both in normal and diabetic pregnancy. The implantations tended to be fewer, whereas the resorption and malformation rates were higher, in the left horn than in the right horn. The blood flow in the uterine and decidual tissues was increased in the left horn in diabetic d 10 tissue, as well as d 12 tissues, thereby suggesting that compromised embryonic development is associated with increased rather than decreased supply of nutrients to the implantation site. These findings are in concert with previous in vitro results suggesting that enhanced oxidative stress due to increased substrate availability is an important factor in diabetic teratogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Flow Velocity
  • Congenital Abnormalities / etiology
  • Decidua / blood supply
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development / physiology*
  • Female
  • Fetal Resorption / etiology
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy in Diabetics / pathology*
  • Pregnancy in Diabetics / physiopathology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Uterus / blood supply*