The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of maternal mild hyperglycemia on maternal behavior, as well as the development, behavior, reproductive function, and glucose tolerance of the offspring. At birth, litters were assigned either to Control (subcutaneous (sc)-citrate buffer) or STZ groups (streptozotocin (STZ)-100mg/kg-sc.). On PND 90 both STZ-treated and control female rats were mated. Glucose tolerance tests (G) and insulin tolerance tests (I) were performed during pregnancy. Pregnancy duration, litter size and sex ratio were assessed. Newborns were classified according to birth weight as small (SPA), adequate (APA), or large for pregnancy age (LPA). Maternal behavior was analyzed on PND 5 and 10. Offspring body weight, length, and anogenital distance were measured and general activity was assessed in the open field. Sexual behavior was tested in both male and female offspring. Levels of reproductive hormones and estrous cycle duration were evaluated in female offspring. Female offspring were mated and both a G and I performed during pregnancy. Neonatal STZ administration caused mild hyperglcyemia during pregnancy and changed some aspects of maternal care. The hyperglycemic intrauterine millieu impaired physical development and increased immobility in the open field in the offspring although the latter effect appeared at different ages for males (adulthood) and females (infancy). There was no impairment in the sexual behavior of either male or female offspring. As adults, female offspring of STZ-treated mothers did not show glucose intolerance during pregnancy. Thus, offspring of female rats that show mild hyperglycemia in pregnancy have fewer behavioral and developmental impairments than previously reported in the offspring of severely diabetic dams suggesting that the degree of impairement is directly related to the mother glycemic intensity. Maternal mild hyperglycemia changed some aspects of maternal behavior. Offspring development and general activity was impaired but not sexual behavior. Female offspring reproductive hormones and estrous cycle length were not impaired. Female offspring did not become glucose intolerant during pregnancy. Maternal mild hyperglycemia is enough to impair offspring development and behavior.
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