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Reprod Toxicol. 2011 Jan;31(1):41-9. doi: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2010.09.002. Epub 2010 Sep 22.

Maternal diet modulates the risk for neural tube defects in a mouse model of diabetic pregnancy.

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Department of Developmental Biology, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana State University System, 6400 Perkins Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70808, USA.


Pregnancies complicated by maternal diabetes have long been known to carry a higher risk for congenital malformations, such as neural tube defects. Using the FVB inbred mouse strain and the Streptozotocin-induced diabetes model, we tested whether the incidence of neural tube defects in diabetic pregnancies can be modulated by maternal diet. In a comparison of two commercial mouse diets, which are considered nutritionally replete, we found that maternal consumption of the unfavorable diet was associated with a more than 3-fold higher rate of neural tube defects. Our results demonstrate that maternal diet can act as a modifier of the risk for abnormal development in high-risk pregnancies, and provide support for the possibility that neural tube defects in human diabetic pregnancies might be preventable by optimized maternal nutrition.

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