Alcohol exposure in pre- and early post-natal stages may cause insulin resistance

DECEMBER 3, 2003 (Bethesda, MD) Perinatal factors (those occurring about five months before birth and one month after) have been implicated in the development of Type 2 diabetes and other disorders. Although the association of adverse events during pregnancy and glucose intolerance has been well documented, little is known about the effects of certain events that occur only during the postnatal period.

It is important to understand such effects involving lactation because alcohol consumption among nursing women is common and there is a popular belief that alcohol (i.e., maternal ethanol (EtOH)) promotes lactation. Ingested EtOH is secreted in the milk and therefore has the potential for exposing the developing offspring to toxic effects of EtOH. A new study finds that alcohol exposure during early development -- though not necessarily during pregnancy -- may program the offspring for insulin resistance and glucose intolerance later in life.

A New Study

The authors of the study, "Whole Body Insulin Resistance in Rat Offspring of Mothers Consuming Alcohol During Pregnancy or Lactation: Comparing Prenatal and Postnatal Exposure," are Li Chen and B. L. Grgoire Nyomba of the Department of Internal Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, CN. Their findings appear in the Journal of Applied Physiology, "Articles in Press" section. The Journal is one of 14 scientific journals published each month by the American Physiological Society (APS).


The research team followed the protocol outlined below:

Animals: Timed-pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats were used (n=3-4/group) and randomly divided into three weight-matched groups. Throughout pregnancy, one group was given 2g/kg EtOH (36%) twice daily and the other groups were given the same volume of water. Body weight and food intake were recorded daily. From day 1 postpartum until weaning, one of the two groups that were not gi

Contact: Donna Krupa
American Physiological Society

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