Gestational diabetes is defined as glucose intolerance during pregnancy and it is presented as high blood glucose levels during the onset pregnancy. This condition has an adverse impact on fetal development but the mechanism involved is still not fully understood. In this study, we investigated the effects of high glucose on the developing quail embryo, especially its impact on the development of the nervous system. We established that high glucose altered the central nervous system mophologically, such that neural tube defects (NTDs) developed. In addition, we found that high glucose impaired nerve differentiation at dorsal root ganglia and in the developing limb buds, as revealed by neurofilament (NF) immunofluorescent staining. The dorsal root ganglia are normally derived from neural crest cells (NCCs), so we examine the delamination of NCCs from dorsal side of the neural tube. We established that high glucose was detrimental to the NCCs, in vivo and in vitro. High glucose also negatively affected neural differentiation by reducing the number and length of neurites emanating from neurons in culture. We established that high glucose exposure caused an increase in reactive oxidative species (ROS) generation by primary cultured neurons. We hypothesized that excess ROS was the factor responsible for impairing neuron development and differentiation. We provided evidence for our hypothesis by showing that the addition of vitamin C (a powerful antioxidant) could rescue the damaging effects of high glucose on cultured neurons.
Chen, Y., Fan, J., Zhang, Z., Wang, G., Cheng, X., Chuai, M., Lee, K. K. H., & Yang, X. (2013). The Negative Influence of High-Glucose Ambience on Neurogenesis in Developing Quail Embryos. PLoS ONE, 8(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0066646