Enhanced risk of congenital heart diseases (CHD) with diabetic pregnancies
The leading non-genetic risk factor for congenital heart diseases in newborn children is maternal diabetes (diabetes during pregnancy or gestational diabetes). A study done by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), shows likely five times enhanced risk of congenital heart diseases and fetal heart conditions in children born to women with diabetes during pregnancy. Other health complications with maternal diabetes affecting fetal heart development are.
Researchers say high blood sugar or glucose levels are harmful to mother as well as to the fetuses. Gestational diabetes (GD) causes extra sugar or glucose in the bloodstream during pregnancy and prevents the growth of heart cells instead of helping them in growth. This growth hindrance in heart cells translates into two to five times increased risk of the development of congenital heart diseases.
Researchers have replicated cardiomyocytes cells using human embryonic cells in the experimental laboratory. They conducted experiments on cardiomyocytes cells by exposing them to different levels of glucose. They found normal and matured growth in those cardiomyocytes cells which were exposed to normal glucose levels (equal to blood sugar levels present in a non-diabetic person). But researchers observed no maturity or late maturity under high glucose levels (equal to blood sugar levels present in a diabetic person). Experimental study results with diabetic pregnant mice models were also similar to the laboratory experimental results.
Healthcare professionals are identifying patients with congenital heart diseases with advanced diagnosing techniques, tests and devices. The number of patients with congenital heart disease is increasing at nearly five percent per year. Authors say their study helps in understanding the development of congenital heart disease in babies due to maternal diabetes risk factor (a non-genetic factor) in pregnant women. New therapies can be developed by understanding the mechanism involved in the development of diseases in the fetus with mother's high blood sugar or glucose levels (or gestational or maternal diabetes).
The author of the study was Atsushi Nakano, MD, PhD, Associate Professor, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). The study findings were published December 12, 2017, in the eLife. Title of the article was "Glucose inhibits cardiac muscle maturation through nucleotide biosynthesis."
Cardiomyocytes : These are cells of heart (or cardiac) muscle and the heart chamber. Cardiomyocytes is also known as cardiac myocytes or myocardiocytes. Smooth muscle, skeletal muscle and cardiac muscle (cells in the walls of the heart) are specialized forms of cardiomyocytes. These muscles help the heart in pumping blood from heart chambers by contracting and draw blood into it by relaxing. Heart helps in circulating blood throughout our body.
Vasculopathy : Any disease affecting blood vessels is called vasculopathy.
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Published by Jammi Vasista, Chennai, India.