Maternal diabetes induces congenital heart defects in mice by altering the expression of genes involved in cardiovascular development

Kumar, Srinivasan Dinesh; Dheen, S. Thameem; Tay, Samuel Sam Wah
January 2007
Cardiovascular Diabetology;2007, Vol. 6, p34
Academic Journal
Background: Congenital heart defects are frequently observed in infants of diabetic mothers, but the molecular basis of the defects remains obscure. Thus, the present study was performed to gain some insights into the molecular pathogenesis of maternal diabetes-induced congenital heart defects in mice. Methods and results: We analyzed the morphological changes, the expression pattern of some genes, the proliferation index and apoptosis in developing heart of embryos at E13.5 from streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice. Morphological analysis has shown the persistent truncus arteriosus combined with a ventricular septal defect in embryos of diabetic mice. Several other defects including defective endocardial cushion (EC) and aberrant myofibrillogenesis have also been found. Cardiac neural crest defects in experimental embryos were analyzed and validated by the protein expression of NCAM and PGP 9.5. In addition, the protein expression of Bmp4, Msx1 and Pax3 involved in the development of cardiac neural crest was found to be reduced in the defective hearts. The mRNA expression of Bmp4, Msx1 and Pax3 was significantly down-regulated (p < 0.001) in the hearts of experimental embryos. Further, the proliferation index was significantly decreased (p < 0.05), whereas the apoptotic cells were significantly increased (p < 0.001) in the EC and the ventricular myocardium of the experimental embryos. Conclusion: It is suggested that the down-regulation of genes involved in development of cardiac neural crest could contribute to the pathogenesis of maternal diabetes-induced congenital heart defects.


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