FGF4, A New Potential Regulator in Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

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Background: Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is associated with adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes, however the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. The aim of this study was to find efficient regulator of FGFs in response to the pathogenesis of GDM and explore the role of the FGFs in GDM. Methods: We performed a systematic screening of placental FGFs in GDM patients and further in two different GDM mouse models to investigate their expression changes. Significant changed FGF4 was selected, engineered, purified, and used to treat GDM mice in order to examine whether it can regulate the adverse metabolic phenotypes of the diabetic mice and protect their fetus. Results: We found FGF4 expression was elevated in GDM patients and its level was positively correlated to blood glucose, indicating a physiological relevance of FGF4 with respect to the development of GDM. Recombinant FGF4 (rFGF4) treatment could effectively normalize the adverse metabolic phenotypes in high fat diet induced GDM mice but not in STZ induced GDM mice. However, rFGF4 was highly effective in reduce of neural tube defects (NTDs) of embryos in both the two GDM models. Mechanistically, rFGF4 treatment inhibits pro-inflammatory signaling cascades and neuroepithelial cell apoptosis of both GDM models, which was independent of glucose regulation. Conclusions/interpretation: Our study provides novel insight into the important roles of placental FGF4 and suggests that it may serve as a promising diagnostic factor and therapeutic target for GDM.

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Frontiers in Pharmacology



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