In utero exposure to gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in later life, yet the underlying mechanisms remain to be elucidated. We examined the effects of GDM on the proteome, redox status, and nuclear factor erythroid 2–related factor 2 (Nrf2)-mediated antioxidant gene expression in human fetal endothelial cells. Proteomic analysis revealed that proteins involved in redox homeostasis were significantly altered in GDM and associated with increased mitochondrial superoxide generation, protein oxidation, DNA damage, and diminished glutathione (GSH) synthesis. In GDM cells, the lipid peroxidation product 4-hydroxynonenal (HNE) failed to induce nuclear Nrf2 accumulation and mRNA and/or protein expression of Nrf2 and its target genes NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1), Bach1, cystine/glutamate transporter, and glutamate cysteine ligase. Although methylation of CpG islands in Nrf2 or NQO1 promoters was unaltered by GDM, decreased DJ-1 and increased phosphorylated glycogen synthase kinase 3β levels may account for impaired Nrf2 signaling. HNE-induced increases in GSH and NQO1 levels were abrogated by Nrf2 small interfering RNA in normal cells, and overexpression of Nrf2 in GDM cells partially restored NQO1 induction. Dysregulation of Nrf2 in fetal endothelium may contribute to the increased risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in offspring.
This article contains Supplementary Data online at http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.2337/db13-0169/-/DC1.
R.C.M.S. and G.E.M. are joint senior authors.
- Received February 5, 2013.
- Accepted August 13, 2013.
- © 2013 by the American Diabetes Association.
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