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Diabetologia. 1996 Sep;39(9):1041-6.

Teratogenic effects of diabetes mellitus in the rat. Prevention by vitamin E.

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Hospital del Niño Jesús, Sección de Endocrinología, Madrid, Spain.


We wanted to determine whether administration of vitamin E could reduce the production of free radicals which could play a role in the teratogenic effects of diabetes mellitus. Diabetes was induced in Wistar rats by the intravenous administration of streptozotocin. The animals were divided into six groups: one with no supplement (D) and two, supplemented during pregnancy either with oral vitamin E (150 mg/day) (D + E) or with a placebo (safflower oil) (D + O). Three other groups were kept under the same conditions, but were treated with insulin: D + I, D + I + E and D + I + O. There were three groups of matched controls: C, C + E and C + O. All animals were killed on day 11.5 of pregnancy. In C animals the percentages of reabsorptions and malformations were 1.3 and 2%, respectively, compared with 23.6, 24.3, 6.2 and 13.2%, respectively in D and D + I groups. The crown-rump length, number of somites, and protein and DNA content were higher in C animals than in the diabetic rats, independent of insulin treatment. When vitamin E was administered no changes in these parameters were observed in C and D + I animals; however, in the D mothers it reduced the rate of embryo malformations to 4.6% and increased the crown-rump length and the number of somites. However, vitamin E did not modify the protein and DNA content and the percentage of reabsorptions. In conclusion, administration of vitamin E to diabetic animals decreases the rate of embryo malformations and increases their size and maturation, supporting a role for free radicals in the teratogenic effects of diabetes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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