Definition A model for experimental teratogenesis, which is created by adding d-mannose to rat-embryo culture, causing growth retardation and faulty neural tube closure.
Comment The adjective honeybee refers to the deleterious effects of d-mannose which were first seen in Apidae–honeybees. Other hexoses–e.g., fructose, sorbitol, galactose, cause low-level growth retardation. The adverse effect of d-mannose can be overcome by increasing the O2 or glucose in the system, suggesting that mannose and glucose compete with each other for available hexokinase. The effect is attributed to low-level inhibition of glycolysis–hypoxic glycolysis is a major source of ATP during early rodent development and presumed to be so in humans. The defects are linked to aberrant “fuel mixtures” during critical stages of embryogenesis, explaining some of the defects seen in children of diabetic mothers, in whom increased glucose causes defective glycolysis. Image is that of aberrant expression of honeybee syndrome.
N Engl J Med 1984 Jan 26;310(4):223-30