The objective of this study was to investigate the role of vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) and placental growth factor-2 (PlGF-2) in fetal malformations associated with maternal diabetes. Diabetes was induced in female rats. Diabetic and control female rats were made pregnant. On Day 15 of gestation, rats were sacrificed and embryos and their placentas and membranes were dissected out of the uterine horns. Following morphological examination, embryos and their placentas and membranes were homogenized and used for assayed of VEGF-A and PlGF-2 levels. Embryos of diabetic mothers, exhibited significantly (P < 0.05) shorter crown-to-rump lengths, smaller weights, and heavier placental weights. Experimentally induced maternal diabetes was accompanied by decreased VEGF-A in embryos and associated structures. The levels of PlGF-2 in non-malformed embryos of diabetic gestation and their placentas were significantly (P < 0.05) lower than the average of controls. These results might indicate defective vascularization with a consequent morphological or anatomical anomalies or more subtle biochemical or metabolic changes. In diabetic mothers, a statistically significant (P < 0.05) decrease was noted in the level of VEGF-A in plasma of diabetic rats with a small non-significant decrease in PlGF-2. Like many other diabetic complications, diabetes-induced embryopathies might have vascular origin and correcting the disturbances in these angiogenic factors might help decrease the incidence of malformation in diabetic gestation.
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