Gestational diabetes induces behavioral and brain gene transcription dysregulation in adult offspring

Keren Aviel-Shekler, Yara Hamshawi, Worood Sirhan, Dmitriy Getselter, Kolluru D. Srikanth, Assaf Malka, Ron Piran, Evan Elliott

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14 Scopus citations


The etiology of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) includes a strong genetic component and a complicated environmental component. Recent evidence indicates that maternal diabetes, including gestational diabetes, is associated with an increased prevalence of ASD. While previous studies have looked into possible roles for maternal diabetes in neurodevelopment, there are few studies into how gestational diabetes, with no previous diabetic or metabolic phenotype, may affect neurodevelopment. In this study, we have specifically induced gestational diabetes in mice, followed by behavioral and molecular phenotyping of the mice offspring. Pregnant mice were injected with STZ a day after initiation of pregnancy. Glucose levels increased to diabetic levels between E7 and E14 in pregnancy in a subset of the pregnant animals. Male offspring of Gestational Diabetic mothers displayed increased repetitive behaviors with no dysregulation in the three-chambered social interaction test. RNA-seq analysis revealed a dysregulation in genes related to forebrain development in the frontal cortex and a dysregulation of a network of neurodevelopment and immune related genes in the striatum. Together, these results give evidence that gestational diabetes can induce changes in adulthood behavior and gene transcription in the brain.

Original languageEnglish
Article number412
JournalTranslational Psychiatry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2020

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