We measured blood glucose concentrations and glucose turnover rates in 24 hr fasted, conscious, unrestrained pregnant rats and nongravid controls on days 18, 19, and 20 of gestation. Turnover measurements were secured with simultaneous equilibrium infusions of D-(6-3H) and D-(6-14C) glucose so that gluconeogenic recycling could also be determined. "Steady state" values for blood glucose in the mother after 24 hr of fasting did not significantly differ on each of the days, and these concentrations were significantly lower than the values in 24 hr fasted nongravid rats. At 18 days gestation, glucose turnover did not differ from nongravid values. By contrast, values for glucose turnover after 24 hr fasting increased significantly and progressively in the 19 and 20 day pregnant rats. The increase in turnover correlated with the increasing growth of the conceptus. The ratio between D-(6-14C) glucose and D-(6-3H) turnover remained constant (and the same as in the nongravid rats) during all 3 days of gestation suggesting that rates of glucose recycling remained unaltered. These longitudinal studies indicate that the factors contributing to the pattern of "accelerated starvation" during dietary deprivation in pregnancy may vary as pregnancy progresses. The exaggerated lowering of blood glucose which accompanies fasting occurs before total glucose turnover increases. This could provide a potential mechanism for conserving maternal glucose. Since transplacental transfer of glucose is concentration-dependent, the early establishment of a lower "steady state" for circulating glucose could diminish the magnitude of loss of this key nutrient to the fetus.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism