Role of the mouse visceral yolk sac in nutrition: Inhibition by a somatomedin inhibitor

Wayne Balkan, L. S. Phillips, Steven Goldstein, T. W. Sadler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


A low molecular weight somatomedin inhibitory serum fraction (SI), obtained from streptozotocin‐induced diabetic rats, causes morphological abnormalities and growth reduction in mouse embryos grown in whole embryo culture (WEC). These abnormalities are thought to be caused, at least in part, by a failure of the visceral yolk sac (VYS) to properly degrade proteins, a process that normally provides the conceptus with amino acids and peptides for de novo protein sythesis (histiotrophic untrition). To test this hypothesis, embryos exposed to the SI were provided with a mixture of ten essential amino acids (supplemented group) in an attempt to circumvent SI‐induced VYS dysfunction. Results showed that 82.4% (14/17) of embryos in the amino acid‐supplemented group exhibited improved growth and development compared to those embryos exposed to medium containing the SI alone (unsupplemented group). Supplemented embryos showed greater expansion of the brain regions, improved visceral arch development, and increased protein content compared to nonsupplemented SI‐treated embryos. However, these parameters were still reduced compared to controls. VYSs from both the unsupplemented and amino acid‐supplemented groups were identical with respect to alterations in morphology and increased protein content compared to VYSs from conceptuses cultured in control medium (with or without amino acid supplementation). The improvement in embryonic growth and development due to amino acid supplementation in spite of VYS abnormalities supports the hypothesis that nutritional deprivation is one aspect of SI‐induced teratogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-40
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Experimental Zoology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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