Effect of insulin-induced and fasting hypoglycemia on perinatal hypoxic-ischemic brain damage

Jerome Y. Yager, Daniel F. Heitjan, Javad Towfighi, Robert C. Vannucci

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121 Scopus citations


Experiments in adult animals have indicated that hyperglycemia accentuates whereas hypoglycemia ameliorates hypoxic-ischemic brain damage. To determine whether hypoglycemia is protective or deleterious to the perinatal brain subjected to hypoxia-ischemia, 7-d postnatal rats were rendered hypoglycemic either by receiving an s.c. injection of insulin or fasting for 12 h. All rat pups underwent unilateral common carotid artery ligation followed by exposure to 8% oxygen-balance nitrogen at 37°C for 2 h. Control animals (no insulin or fasting) received s.c. injections of normal saline. Mean blood glucose concentrations were 5.4 ± 0.1, 4.3 ± 0.2, and 3.4 ± 0.1 mmol/L for control, insulin, and fasted animals, respectively. Blood f)-hydroxybutyrate concentrations were identical (0.5 ± 0.1 mmol/L) for control and insulin-treated animals, but more than doubled in concentration in the fasted animals (p < 0.001). Mortality rates during hypoxia-ischemia were higher in the insulin-treated animals (30%) than in either the fasted (4%) or control (07c) animals (p < 0.05). Fasted animals showed a significant reduction in hypoxic-ischemic brain damage as compared with either the insulin-treated or control animals. Insulin-treated animals were not significantly different from controls. The findings indicate that 1) insulin induced hypoglycemia does not provide a protective effect on perinatal hypoxic-ischemic brain damage, as in adults; and 2) fasting adequate to produce hypoglycemia and ketonemia improved neuropathologic outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-142
Number of pages5
JournalPediatric Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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