Preeclampsia is a pregnancy-specific complication with long-term negative outcomes for offspring, including increased susceptibility to type 2 diabetes (T2D) in adulthood. In a rat reduced uteroplacental perfusion pressure (RUPP) model of chronic placental ischemia, maternal hypertension in conjunction with intrauterine growth restriction mimicked aspects of preeclampsia and resulted in female embryonic day 19 (e19) offspring with reduced β-cell area and increased β-cell apoptosis compared with offspring of sham pregnancies. Decreased pancreatic β-cell area persisted to postnatal day 13 (PD13) in females and could influence whether T2D developed in adulthood. Macrophage changes also occurred in islets in T2D. Therefore, we hypothesized that macrophages are crucial to reduction in pancreatic β-cell area in female offspring after chronic placental ischemia. Macrophage marker CD68 mRNA expression was significantly elevated in e19 and PD13 islets isolated from female RUPP offspring compared with sham. Postnatal injections of clodronate liposomes into female RUPP and sham offspring on PD2 and PD9 significantly depleted macrophages compared with injections of control liposomes. Depletion of macrophages rescued reduced β-cell area and increased β-cell proliferation and size in RUPP offspring. Our studies suggest that the presence of macrophages is important for reduced β-cell area in female RUPP offspring and changes in macrophages could contribute to development of T2D in adulthood.

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