High blood glucose levels in early pregnancy may deprive embryo of oxygen

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Research appearing in the October 2005 issue of the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism suggests that high blood glucose levels early in pregnancy deprive the embryo of oxygen, interfering with its development.

“Until recently, it was not understood how diabetic pregnancy could cause birth defects. My laboratory wanted to explore this research because the more we know about the effects of the mother’s diabetes on the embryo, the more tools we have to identify therapies that may prevent birth defects in diabetic pregnancy,” said the study’s lead investigator, Mary R. Loeken, an investigator in Joslin’s Section on Developmental and Stem Cell Biology and assistant professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School.