Akio NakamuraJissen Women’s University, Japan
Title: Disease mechanisms in children born to pregnant women with abnormal glucose metabolism, and preventive medicine using functional lipids
In Japan, the incidence of pregnancies complicated by diabetes and gestational diabetes mellitus is increasing with the rise in age at childbearing due to changes in the social system. In the intrauterine environment of pregnant women with these glucose metabolism disorders, high blood glucose levels pass through the placenta, and advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) are produced by excessive protein glycation reactions during the differentiation and formation of each fetal organ. Furthermore, it has been reported that AGEs produced in maternal blood may induce oxidative stress and inflammation via their receptor—receptor for advanced glycation end-products (i.e., “RAGE”)—and cause associated disorders such as insulin resistance, directly affecting the fetus via the placenta. As a result, they are believed to cause signaling disorders such as insulin resistance in various fetal organs. These fetal signaling disorders have been reported to be closely associated with future development of disease in the child. Although insulin is used as a symptomatic treatment for these disorders, in many cases, it is not effective due to the induction of insulin resistance in many mothers with gestational diabetes. As such, exploratory research is considered to be important for the development of functional foods for primary prevention that are safe for pregnant women.
Exploratory research has focused on palmitoleic acid, an n-7 unsaturated fatty acid, which improves this signaling impairment. It is a functional lipid with two isomeric forms—cis and trans—that exert different effects. This talk presents the latest findings regarding the molecular mechanisms of the effects of AGEs on the fetus in an intrauterine hyperglycemic environment based on data from experimental animal and cellular models. In addition, the concept of preventive medicine as a pre-emptive strategy to obviate disease development in children born to mothers with diabetic pregnancy complications will be discussed.
Akio Nakamura graduated from Gunma University Graduate School of Medicine (Gunma, Japan) at 30 years of age. He is currently a professor in the Department of Nutritional Biochemistry at Jissen Women’s University (Tokyo, Japan). His research uses animal and cellular models to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of the DOHaD hypothesis. His special interest is Aikido (4th dan).