The intrauterine environment: Implications for the offspring of diabetic mothers

B. L. Silverman*, L. P. Purdy, B. E. Metzger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


The proposition that maternal fuel metabolism may exert long-range effects on development - that is, the hypothesis of fuel-mediated teratogenesis - is corroborated by the many retrospective and prospective reports summarized in this review. The findings that have emerged from both animal and human studies indicate that the intrauterine environment of diabetes has a profound influence on later development of obesity, glucoregulation, and possibly hypertension. This suggests that diabetes can predispose to more diabetes, which may contribute to the overall increasing burden of diabetes in the population. However, this process is potentially preventable by more effective normalization of metabolism throughout gestation in women with known diabetes and by early diagnosis and correction of metabolic disturbances of gestational diabetes. Appropriate management of the pregnant diabetic patient may thereby constitute a meaningful strategy for modifying some of the self-perpetuating, and apparently congenitally 'acquired,' contributions to such public health problems as adult obesity, diabetes, and even hypertension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-35
Number of pages15
JournalDiabetes Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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