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Neuroreport. 1998 Dec 21;9(18):4069-73.

Hypothalamic insulin and neuropeptide Y in the offspring of gestational diabetic mother rats.

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Institute of Experimental Endocrinology, Humboldt University Medical School (Charité), Berlin, Germany.


The offspring of diabetic mothers is at increased risk to develop obesity and diabetogenic disturbances during life. Pathophysiological mechanisms responsible are unclear. Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is an important hypothalamic stimulator of food intake and body weight gain, and its levels are decreased by elevated insulin. In neonatally hyperinsulinaemic offspring of diabetic mother rats, hypothalamic insulin level was significantly increased at birth (p < 0.01). At weaning, i.e. at the end of the critical hypothalamic differentiation period, a significantly increased number of NPY-positive neurons (p < 0.01) appeared in the arcuate hypothalamic nucleus. In conclusion, an increase in the number of NPYergic neurons in the hypothalamus, possibly due to hypothalamic malformation and/or perinatally acquired hypothalamic insulin resistance, might contribute to the development of obesity and metabolic disturbances in the offspring of diabetic mothers.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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