Placental Glucose Uptake in a Nonhuman Primate Model of Western-Style Diet Consumption and Chronic Hyperandrogenemia Exposure

Victoria Roberts, Aaron D. Streblow, Jessica E. Gaffney, Samantha P. Rettke, Antonio E. Frias, Ov D. Slayden

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1 Scopus citations


We reported that consumption of a western-style diet (WSD) with and without hyperandrogenemia perturbed placental perfusion and altered levels of glucose transporter proteins in rhesus macaques. Based on that result, we hypothesized that placental glucose uptake would be dysregulated in this model. In this study, female rhesus macaques were assigned at puberty to one of four groups: subcutaneous cholesterol implants + standard chow diet (controls, C); testosterone implants + chow (T); cholesterol implants + a high-fat, WSD; and T+WSD. After ~6 years of treatment, animals were mated, and pregnancies were delivered by cesarean section at gestational day (G) 130 (the term is G168). Placental villous explants were immediately prepared for radiolabeled glucose assay. Linear glucose uptake was observed between 0 and 30 s. At 20 s, glucose uptake in placental villous explants did not differ across the four treatment groups with values as follows: C: 25.5 ± 6.33, T: 22.9 ± 0.404, WSD: 26.9.0 ± 3.71, and T+WSD: 33.0 ± 3.12 (mean ± SD expressed in pmol/mg). Unlike our prior experiment, glucose transporter expression was reduced in WSD placentas, and our in vitro functional assay did not demonstrate a difference in glucose uptake across the transporting epithelium of the placenta. Notably, maternal blood glucose levels were significantly elevated in animals chronically fed a WSD. This disparity may indicate differences in glucose utilization and metabolism by the placenta itself, as glucose transporter expression and circulating fetal glucose concentrations were comparable across all four groups in this pregnancy cohort.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2574-2581
Number of pages8
JournalReproductive Sciences
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Glucose
  • Hyperandrogenemia
  • Nonhuman primate
  • Placenta
  • Western-style diet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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