Insulin as growth factor

 

INSULIN was suspected to be of interest in fetal growth when it was found out that infants of diabetic mothers were usually very large for dates. This is as a result of the transfusion of the baby with large amounts of glucose from the mother which tended to overstimulate the β cells of the fetus to output more than necessary insulin into the blood. The insulin then being a fetal growth hormone tended to cause increase growth of the fetus seen as large-for-date babies at birth. Other experiments were then conducted to determine the effect of insulin on the fetus. Sheep fetuses were cannulated and insulin were administered to the fetuses and their growth monitored. It was then found that insulin modified the growth of the fetus considerably.

Insulin itself is also a growth factor. Supraphysiological concentration of the hormone is needed to promote cell replication in isolated postnatal connective tissue.

 

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