Journal of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease
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Fetal growth restriction (FGR) is a pregnancy condition in which fetal growth is suboptimal for gestation, and this population is at increased risk for type 2 diabetes as adults. In humans, maternal malnutrition and placental insufficiency are the most common causes of FGR, and both result in fetal undernutrition. We hypothesized that maternal nutrient restriction (MNR) in mice will cause FGR and alter glucose metabolism in adult offspring. Pregnant CD-1 mice were subjected to MNR (70% of average ad libitum) or control (ad libitum) from E6.5 to birth. Following birth, mice were fostered by mothers on ad libitum feeds. Weight, blood glucose, glucose tolerance and tissue-specific insulin sensitivity were assessed in male offspring. MNR resulted in reduced fetal sizes but caught up to controls by 3 days postnatal age. As adults, glucose intolerance was detected in 19% of male MNR offspring. At 6 months, liver size was reduced (P = 0.01), but pAkt-to-Akt ratios in response to insulin were increased 2.5-fold relative to controls (P = 0.004). These data suggest that MNR causes FGR and long-term glucose intolerance in a population of male offspring similar to human populations. This mouse model can be used to investigate the impacts of FGR on tissues of importance in glucose metabolism.