Increased incidence of hepatic insulin-sensitizing substance (HISS)-dependent insulin resistance in female rats prenatally exposed to ethanol
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Insulin causes the release of the hepatic insulin-sensitizing substance (HISS) from the liver. Hepatic parasympathetic nerves play a permissive role in the release of HISS. HISS-dependent insulin resistance (HDIR) occurs in the absence of HISS. Fetal ethanol exposure has been shown to cause dose-dependent HDIR in adult male rat offspring. Since female offspring are more severely affected by in utero ethanol toxicity, we hypothesized that fetal alcohol exposure causes higher incidence and more severe HDIR in adult female offspring. Adult female rat offspring prenatally exposed to different concentrations of ethanol (0%, 15%, and 20%) were tested for insulin sensitivity using the rapid insulin sensitivity test (RIST). The RIST index was significantly reduced in the 15% (134.1 +/- 16.1 mg/kg) and the 20% (98.7 +/- 9.7 mg/kg) group compared with the 0% (220.9 +/- 27.6 mg/kg) group. Administration of atropine produced significant additional HDIR in the 15% group (82.9 +/- 14.5 mg/kg) but not the 20% group (83.8 +/- 20.5 mg/kg) indicating complete HDIR had been produced in this group, contrary to the adult male offspring in a previous study. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that adult-female offspring are more severely affected by in utero ethanol exposure compared with adult-male offspring.