Culture of the postimplantation rat conceptus in hyperglycemic medium causes developmental abnormalities and is associated with a diminished water-soluble myo-inositol content. We investigated the effect myo-inositol depletion has on lipid-soluble phosphoinositides, precursors, and water-soluble inositol phosphates. Rat conceptuses were cultured from gestational day 9.5 (presomite, early head fold) to day 10.5 (7–15 somites) in 6.7–73.3 mM D-glucose. Significant decreases in the phosphoinositides of the embryo were observed with increased culture D-glucose concentrations. PI was reduced 15–34%, PIP 18–46%, and PIP2 26–46%. Yolk sac phosphoinositides also were reduced but to a lesser degree. Culture in hyperglycemic media also mediated significant reductions of conceptus inositol phosphates. To investigate whether effects similar to those induced by D-glucose could be mediated by another agent capable of decreasing myo-inositol content, we used scyllo-inositol, a transported but nonmetabolized isomer of myo-inositol. Conceptuses cultured in medium containing scyllo-inositol (0.06–16.7 mM) had dose-dependent decreases of myo-[3H]inositol in water-soluble and lipid-soluble fractions. Incorporation of myo-[3H]inositol into phosphoinositides and inositol phosphates was decreased concomitantly. Developmental effects of D-glucose and scyllo-inositol were assessed in rat conceptuses cultured from day 9.5 (presomite, early head fold) to day 11.5 (22–28 somites). Culture in 40.0–73.3 mM glucose and 0.06–33.3 mM scyllo-inositol impaired growth while increasing dysmorphogenesis in a dose-dependent manner. The results suggest that decreases in conceptus myo-inositol and associated diminution of phosphoinositides, which are the inositol/lipid cycle precursors, are dysmorphogenic and may contribute to the etiology of diabetic embryopathy.

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