Joslin study shows weight control protects against low birth weight related glucose intolerance

BOSTON -- Obesity, physical inactivity, genetics and age have long been recognized as risk factors for developing high blood glucose and diabetes. But over the past few years, scientists have discovered another risk--low birth weight. Now in a study with mice, Joslin Diabetes Center researchers have shown how it might be possible for people who were low weight at birth to protect themselves.

"We wanted to see if eating a controlled diet and stopping weight gain would prevent the development of glucose intolerance," explains Mary-Elizabeth Patti, M.D., Investigator in Joslin's Research Section on Cellular and Molecular Physiology and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, the study's co-author. Former Joslin fellow Marcelino Hernandez-Valencia, M.D., collaborated with Dr. Patti on the study.

This talk is among 89 presentations Joslin scientists will deliver at the 65th Annual Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association, starting today, Friday, June 10, through Tuesday, June 14, at the San Diego Convention Center. Some 13,000 scientists, physicians and health professionals from around the world will attend the conference. The talk is scheduled to be delivered today, Friday, June 10, in a 4:15-6:15 p.m. PST session on Regulation of Food Intake and Body Weight. (Abstract Number 49-OR: "Thin Phenotype Protective for Impaired Glucose Tolerance Related to Low Birth Weight").

To test their strategy, the Joslin scientists bred two different groups of mice: the control group whose mothers were allowed to eat as much as they wanted during pregnancy, and a second group whose mothers' diets during pregnancy were restricted to only half that amount. At birth, the offspring of mice with undernourished mothers weighed about 25 percent less than the offspring of the well-nourished mice. For the next phase of the experiment, the researchers further divided both control and low-birth weight mice into two subgroups. In one of


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