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HYPERTROPHY AND HYPERPLASIA OF ISLANDS OF LANGERHANS IN INFANTS BORN OF DIABETIC MOTHERS

ELSON B. HELWIG, M.D.
Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1940;65(2):221-239. doi:10.1001/archinte.1940.00190080003001.
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Owing to the inadequate therapy available for diabetic patients even for some time after insulin became available, the fertility of diabetic women was low and pregnancy a rarity. When better control of the diabetic state made it possible for pregnancy to occur, it was disconcerting to observe that some of the infants were born dead and that others died soon after birth. Autopsies on these infants showed no consistent pathologic change. The chemical and postmortem observations suggested a low blood sugar level, and to explain this Dubreuil and Andérodias1 and others2 have suggested transient fetal hyperinsulinism accompanying hyperplasia of the islands of Langerhans.

To determine whether an adequate structural basis existed for the assumed hyperinsulinism, the pancreatic islands in 9 infants of diabetic mothers and 9 infants of normal mothers were studied.

From a block of tissue previously selected at random from each pancreas, approximately 90 serial sections

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