Gestational diabetes has an adverse impact on fetal musculoskeletal development, but the mechanism involved is still not completely understood. In this study, we investigated the effects of high glucose on the developing somites and their derivate using the chick embryo as a model. We demonstrated that under high glucose, the number of generated somites was reduced and their morphology altered in 2-day old chick embryos. In addition, high glucose repressed the development of the limb buds in 5.5-day old chick embryos. We also demonstrated that high glucose abridged the development of the sclerotome and the cartilage in the developing limb bud. The sonic hedgehog (Shh) gene has been reported to play a crucial role in the development and differentiation of sclerotome. Hence, we examined how Shh expression in the sclerotome was affected under high glucose. We found that high glucose treatment significantly inhibited Shh expression. The high glucose also impaired myotome formation at trunk level - as revealed by immunofluorescent staining with MF20 antibodies. In the neural tube, we established that Wnt3a expression was also significantly repressed. In summary, our study demonstrates that high glucose concentrations impair somite and limb bud development in chick embryos, and suggests that Shh and Wnt genes may play a role in the underlying mechanism.
Chen, Y., Wang, G., Ma, Z., Li, Y., Wang, X., Cheng, X., Chuai, M., Tang, S., Lee, K. K. H., & Yang, X. (2014). Adverse effects of high glucose levels on somite and limb development in avian embryos. Food and Chemical Toxicology, 71(September), 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fct.2014.05.019