The effects of low protein during gestation on mouse pancreatic development and beta cell regeneration
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Beta cells are partially replaced in neonatal rodents after deletion with streptozotocin (STZ). Exposure of pregnant rats to a low protein (LP) diet impairs endocrine pancreas development in the offspring, leading to glucose intolerance in adulthood. Our objective was to determine whether protein restriction has a similar effect on the offspring in mice, and if this alters the capacity for beta cell regeneration after STZ. Pregnant Balb/c mice were fed a control (C) (20% protein) or an isocaloric LP (8% protein) diet during gestation. Pups were given 35 mg/kg STZ (or vehicle) from d 1 to 5 for each dietary treatment. Histologic analysis showed that C-fed offspring had largely replaced beta cell mass (BCM) after STZ by d 30, but this was not sustained over time. Female LP-fed offspring showed an initial increase in BCM by d 14 but developed glucose intolerance by d 130. In contrast, male LP offspring showed no changes in BCM or glucose tolerance. However, LP exposure limited the capacity for recovery of BCM in both genders after STZ treatment. Copyright © 2010 International Pediatric Research Foundation, Inc.