The danger of vitamin D deficiency for pregnant women has been highlighted
Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have highlighted the danger of vitamin D deficiency for pregnant women. A lack of this vitamin during gestation can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes in offspring later in life, according to a study published in the journal Nature Communications.
In experiments on mice born to mothers with a vitamin D deficiency, the specialists identified the type of stem cells affected irreversibly by the lack of the substance. They discovered changes in certain genes in stem cells which later turn into immune cells, including macrophages. The macrophages exposed to the vitamin deficiency then secreted molecules that reduce fat tissue's ability to store glucose, leading to an increase in blood sugar levels.
The same processes were revealed in humans, with researchers isolating immune cells from cord blood of pregnant women with vitamin D deficiency. The results showed similar changes in the genes of the immune cells and secreted molecules that had previously been identified in mice.
This discovery could lead to approaches for preventing and treating diabetes based on modifiable risk factors.