Maternal hyperglycaemia has a profound impact on the developing foetus and increases the risk of developing abnormalities like obesity, impaired glucose tolerance and insulin secretory defects in the post-natal life. Increased levels of glucose in the blood stream due to diabetes causes visual disorders like retinopathy. However, the impact of maternal hyperglycaemia due to pre-existing or gestational diabetes on the developing foetal retina is unknown. The aim of this work was to study the effect of hyperglycaemia on the developing retina using zebrafish as a vertebrate model. Wild-type and transgenic zebrafish embryos were exposed to 0, 4 and 5% D-Glucose in a pulsatile manner to mimic the fluctuations in glycaemia experienced by the developing foetus in pregnant women with diabetes. The zebrafish embryos displayed numerous ocular defects associated with altered retinal cell layer thickness, increased presence of macrophages, and decreased number of Müeller glial and retinal ganglion cells following high-glucose exposure. We have developed a model of gestational hyperglycaemia using the zebrafish embryo to study the effect of hyperglycaemia on the developing embryonic retina. The data suggests that glucose exposure is detrimental to the development of embryonic retina and the legacy of this exposure may extend into adulthood. These data suggest merit in retinal assessment in infants born to mothers with pre-existing and gestational diabetes both in early and adult life.
- disease model
Ian Harper (Manager), Stephen Firth (Manager), Alex Fulcher (Operator), Oleks Chernyavskiy (Operator), Margaret Rzeszutek (Other), David Potter (Manager), Volker Hilsenstein (Operator), Juan Nunez-Iglesias (Other), Stephen Cody (Manager), Irena Carmichael (Operator), Betty Kouskousis (Other), Chad Johnson (Operator), Sarah Creed (Manager) & Giulia Ballerin (Operator)Office of the Vice-Provost (Research and Research Infrastructure)