Effect of maternal feed restriction during pregnancy on glucose tolerance in the adult guinea pig

Karen L. Kind, P. M. Clifton, Patricia A. Grant, Phillip C. Owens, Annica Sohlstrom, Claire T. Roberts, Jeffrey S. Robinson, Julie A. Owens

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106 Citations (Scopus)


Maternal nutrient restriction and impaired fetal growth are associated with postnatal insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia, and glucose intolerance in humans but not consistently in other species, such as the rat or sheep. We therefore determined the effect of mild (85% ad libitum intake/kg body wt) or moderate (70% ad libitum intake/kg body wt) maternal feed restriction throughout pregnancy on glucose and insulin responses to an intravenous glucose tolerance test (IVGTT) in the young adult guinea pig. Maternal feed restriction reduced birth weight (mild and moderate: both P < 0.02) in male offspring. Moderate restriction increased plasma glucose area under the curve (P < 0.04) and decreased the glucose tolerance index (KG) (P < 0.02) during the IVGTT in male offspring compared with those of mildly restricted but not of ad libitum-fed mothers. Moderate restriction increased fasting plasma insulin (P < 0.04, adjusted for litter size) and the insulin response to IVGTT (P < 0.001), and both moderate and mild restriction increased the insulin-to-glucose ratio during the IVGTT (P < 0.003 and P < 0.02) in male offspring. When offspring were classed into tertiles according to birth weight, glucose tolerance was not altered, but fasting insulin concentrations were increased in low compared with medium birth weight males (P < 0.03). The insulin-to-glucose ratio throughout the IVGTT was increased in low compared with medium (P < 0.01) or high (P < 0.05) birth weight males. Thus maternal feed restriction in the guinea pig restricts fetal growth and causes hyperinsulinemia in young adult male offspring, suggestive of insulin resistance. These findings suggest that mild to moderate prenatal perturbation programs postnatal glucose homeostasis adversely in the guinea pig, as in the human.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R140-R152
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology: Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number1 53-1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003
Externally publishedYes


  • Birth weight
  • Intravenous glucose tolerance test
  • Plasma insulin


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