ABSTRACT Morphological studies of congenital anomalies have mainly focused on abnormal shape (i.e. malformation) and thus on disturbed organogenesis. However, in regard to postnatal functions of organs that develop through branching mechanisms, organ size is another important morphological feature. These organs consist of a large number of structural and functional units, such as nephrons in the kidney, and the total number of these units, that is approximately proportional to the organ size, has been shown to vary widely among individuals. Organ-specific cells are differentiated and organized to form structural units and realize organ-specific functions during the histogenetic period (i.e. from mid-gestation to the early postnatal period). The total number of units is attained at the end of histogenesis and determines the total functional capacity, including the functional reserve of the organ, and thus may be related to predispositions to postnatal organ-based diseases, because the functional reserve decreases during the course of life and eventually become short of the minimum requirement of each organ. Therefore, it may be hypothesized that a smaller number of units of organs at the end of histogenesis is one of the predisposing factors for postnatal diseases (i.e. a form of unnoticed but late-manifested congenital anomalies), in this era of extended longevity. However, the mechanisms that control the total number of units in each organ during histogenesis and the possible relationship among the numbers of units in different organs remain unknown. Here, we review our trials based on the above hypothesis in order to (1) mathematically analyze the morphometric data of the different organs in fetuses to elucidate relationship among developing organs, (2) analyze the developing neuro-immuno-endocrine network as a series of mechanisms to systemically correlate the histogenesis of multiple organs, and (3) examine the maternal environment, including dietary fat, as a factor to influence histogenesis and thus the predisposition to type 1 diabetes.
ABSTRACT Environment factors, including maternal or infant dietary nutrition have been reported to have an influence on the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes. In the present study, to investigate the effect of maternal or post-weaning offspring's nutrition, in particular the essential fatty acid ratio (n-6/n-3) on the development of type 1 diabetes, we prepared two kinds of chows with n-6/n-3 ratios of 3.0 (L) and 14.5 (H), and provided them to mothers of non-obese diabetic (NOD) mice during gestation and lactation and to the offspring after weaning. The n-6/n-3 ratios in breast milk and erythrocyte membrane of NOD offspring became nearly the same with that of the maternal diet at 2 weeks after birth. In the L chow-fed offspring from L chow-fed mother (LLL), levels of insulitis were higher than those in the H chow-fed offspring from H chow-fed mother (HHH) at 4 weeks of age, while the levels in the LLL offspring became lower than those in the HHH after 6 weeks. Early insulin autoantibody expressions were found from 2 to 6 weeks in the HHH offspring, but not in the LLL. The LLL offspring exhibited strong suppression of overt diabetes development in regard to the onset and accumulated incidence of diabetes compared to the HHH. The study with combined L and H chows during gestation, lactation in mother and in post-weaning offspring revealed that only the LLH chow significantly suppressed the development of diabetes with similar kinetics to LLL chow, although the other combinations may delay the onset of diabetes. The present findings suggest that n-6/n-3 ratio of the maternal diet during gestation and lactation rather than that of offspring after weaning strongly affects the development of overt diabetes in NOD mice.
ABSTRACT The aim of this study was to determine the distribution of cases associated with congenital abnormalities during the following three periods: pregnancy, birth, and the neonatal period. This was a retrospective study of cases between 2002 and 2006. All abnormal pregnancies, elective terminations of pregnancies, stillbirths, and births with congenital abnormalities managed in the Neonatology Unit were classified based on the above distribution scheme. During the 5-year study period, 1906 cases with congenital abnormalities were recruited, as follows: 640 prenatally detected and terminated cases, with most abnormalities related to the central nervous system, chromosomes, and urogenital system (56.7%, 12.7%, and 8.9%, respectively); 712 neonates with congenital abnormalities (congenital heart disease [49.2%], central nervous system abnormalities [14.7%], and urogenital system abnormalities [12.9%]); and hospital stillbirths, of which 34.2% had malformations (220 prenatal cases [34.4%] had multiple abnormalities, whereas 188 liveborn cases [26.4%] had multiple abnormalities). The congenital abnormalities rate between 2002 and 2006 was 2.07%. Systematic screening for fetal anomalies is the primary means for identification of affected pregnancies.
ABSTRACT Type 1 diabetes is a multifactorial disease involving genetic and environmental factors and results from the destruction of pancreatic islet β cells, virtually the only source of insulin. When the majority of β cells are lost, a ‘honeymoon’ period of variable length follows: namely, a fleeting phase of residual endogenous insulin production, during which glycemic control is achieved with modest or no doses of insulin. However, the remaining β cells are eventually lost, causing the individual to become insulin-dependent and to require long-term insulin therapy or islet transplantation. Here we show that NOD mice, a type 1 diabetes model, survived significantly longer when their diet was changed from one chow with a high essential fatty acid (EFA) ratio (n-6/n-3, 14.5) to another with a low n-6/n-3 ratio (3.0) within 6 days after the onset of overt diabetes (i.e. the ‘honeymoon’ period), than mice that were continuously fed with the chow with the high n-6/n-3 ratio. This effect was not observed when the chow was changed later than 9 days after the onset. Significantly larger number of islets remained with suggestive islet neogenesis from the pancreatic duct and pathological changes in renal glomeruli were significantly milder in NOD mice fed the chow with the low n-6/n-3 ratio within 6 days after the onset of overt diabetes than those continuously fed with the high-n-6/n-3-ratio chow. These findings indicate that a diet with a low n-6/n-3 ratio prolongs the ‘honeymoon’ period by retaining the β cell mass, suggesting its potential therapeutic merit.