Washington D.C. [USA], April 3 : All the would-be moms, look before you booze! A study finds, binge drinking before conceiving, may lead to high blood sugar in kids, increasing the risk of developing diabetes in their adulthood.
The results were presented at the Endocrine Society's 99th annual meeting in Orlando, Florida. "The effects of alcohol use during pregnancy on an unborn child are well known, including possible birth defects - learning and behaviour problems," said principal investigator Dipak Sarkar from Rutgers University in New Brunswick.
"However, it is not known whether a mother's alcohol use before conception also could have negative effects on her child's health and disease susceptibility during adulthood," Sarkar added.
To assess the effects of alcohol use prior pregnancy, researchers conducted a study in rats, whose basic processes of glucose function are similar to those in humans.
For four weeks, they gave female rats a diet, containing 6.7 percent alcohol, which raised their blood alcohol levels to those of binge drinking in humans.
Adult offspring of these rats were compared with controlled offspring- the offspring of rats that did not receive alcohol before conception.
After the offspring reached adulthood, the researchers used standard laboratory techniques to monitor their levels of blood glucose and insulin and two other important hormones, glucagon and leptin.
The research team found that comparing both groups, the offsprings exposed to alcohol before conceiving, had several signs of abnormal glucose homeostasis (function).
Altered glucose homeostasis reportedly included increased blood glucose levels, decreased insulin levels in the blood and pancreatic tissue, reduced glucagon levels in the blood while being increased in pancreatic tissue, and raised blood levels of leptin.
"These changes could have lifelong effects on the offspring's glucose homeostasis and possibly increase their susceptibility to diabetes," the researchers explained.