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Drug could improve pregnancy outcomes in wider range of women with insulin resistance
Date:9/6/2007

St. Louis, Sept. 6, 2007 Women who are obese, have type 2 diabetes or a family history of type 2 diabetes could one day have more successful pregnancies because of a study at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

This study, performed in mice, suggests that Metformin, the most commonly prescribed anti-diabetes drug, could potentially improve pregnancy outcomes in women with insulin resistance.

We found that embryos of insulin-resistant mice also have some degree of insulin resistance, and if we correct the insulin resistance in the embryo with this drug, we improve the quality of the embryo, says Kelle Moley, M.D., lead author and professor of obstetrics and gynecology.

The finding, published online in Diabetes, suggests that Metformin could benefit women with type 2 diabetes or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). About 8 percent of women trying to conceive have insulin resistance, Moley says, and even more are suspected to be borderline. In some cases, a family history of type 2 diabetes or being overweight may be the only indication that the patient may be prone to insulin resistance.

Metformin is often given to women with PCOS, an endocrine disorder that affects insulin and results in higher rates of miscarriage. These women often share the same pregnancy complications as women with type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Recent studies have shown that metformin not only aids conception in women with PCOS but also reduces the high miscarriage rates; however, how the drug does this has been unclear.

Using early-stage mouse embryos, Moley and her colleagues showed for the first time that metformin improves insulin action in insulin-resistant embryos. That allowed the embryos to absorb glucose, an important energy source, and prevented the death of cells in the embryos. As a result, the embryos were more likely to successfully implant in the uterus and to continue growing.

Moley's group also
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Contact: Diane Duke Williams
williamsdia@wustl.edu
314-286-0111
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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