Non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) is normally treated by oral hypoglycaemic agents, but their use is excluded during pregnancy because of their potential teratogenic and hypoglycaemic effects on the fetus. This caveat was recently questioned as glyburide was shown to cross an isolated cotyledon in vitro in insignificant amounts. In the present study, placental transport of glyburide in vivo was examined as an indispensable step towards clinical trials. Tritiated glyburide, C14 albumin or C14-labelled diazepam were injected into 13, 9 and 11 pregnant rats, respectively and the radioactivity was measured thereafter in maternal blood and in whole fetal extracts. The ratios between radioactivity in fetal tissue to that in maternal blood for glyburide (0.535 ± 0.068) were similar to those of diazepam (0.641 ± 0.057) which readily crosses the placenta. However, they differed significantly from those for albumin (0.048 ± 0.0004) which does not cross. Moreover, glyburide in fetal tissue consistently reflected its concentration in maternal blood when measured at consecutive intervals after intravenous injection in the mother. In contrast, albumin in fetal tissue was low at all time points regardless of its levels in maternal blood when measured at different times after injection. These data suggest that glyburide crosses the placenta of pregnant rats and should therefore be considered with caution as a hypoglycaemic agent in the treatment of gestational diabetes.
- oral hypoglycaemic agents