Dietary intake of myo-inositol and neural tube defects in offspring of diabetic rats

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1997 Mar;176(3):536-9. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9378(97)70543-x.


Objective: Embryopathy in diabetic mothers occurs at a rate four to five times higher than that observed in the general population. The current investigation was undertaken to assess the use of dietary myo-inositol supplementation as a pharmacologic prophylaxis to obviate the teratogenic effects of hyperglycemia in an in vivo study.

Study design: Seventy Sprague-Dawley rats were mated and after conception were randomly divided into five groups: one group was nondiabetic normal controls and four groups had diabetes experimentally induced with streptozotocin. Of the diabetic groups, one received the usual diet, whereas the others received, respectively, 0.08, 0.16, and 0.5 mg/day supplemental myo-inositol orally.

Results: With the myo-inositol supplementation (0.08 mg/day), the incidence of neural tube defects was significantly reduced from 20.4% to 9.5% (p < 0.01). The most effective dosage of myo-inositol was 0.08 mg/day. Increasing the dose of myo-inositol beyond that level did not significantly reduce the rate of neural tube defects. However, the resorption rate was increased to 29.8%.

Conclusion: These data demonstrate that myo-inositol supplementation reduces the incidence of diabetic embryopathy and may serve as a pharmacologic prophylaxis against diabetes-induced congenital malformations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental*
  • Embryonic and Fetal Development / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Hyperglycemia / complications
  • Inositol / therapeutic use*
  • Neural Tube Defects / etiology
  • Neural Tube Defects / prevention & control*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy in Diabetics / drug therapy*
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Inositol