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Dan Med Bull. 1998 Nov;45(5):495-509.

Gestational diabetes mellitus and subsequent development of overt diabetes mellitus.

Author information

  • Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen.

Abstract

GDM develops in 1-3% of all pregnancies. Women with GDM are characterized by a relatively diminished insulin secretion coupled with a pregnancy-induced insulin resistance primary located in skeletal muscle tissue. The cellular background for this insulin resistance is not known. The binding of insulin to its receptor and the subsequent activation of the insulin receptor tyrosine kinase have significant importance for the cellular effect of insulin. Thus, the pathogenesis to the insulin resistance was studied by investigating insulin receptor binding and tyrosine kinase activity in skeletal muscle biopsies from women with GDM and pregnant controls. No major abnormalities were found in GDM wherefore it is likely that the insulin resistance is caused by intracellular defects distal to the activation of the tyrosine kinase. Glucose tolerance returns to normal postpartum in the majority of women with GDM. However, previous studies, in populations quite different from a Danish population, have shown that women with previous GDM have a high risk of developing overt diabetes mellitus later in life. Hence, we aimed to investigate the prognosis of women with previous GDM with respect to subsequent development of diabetes and also to identify predictive factors for the development of overt diabets in these women. A follow-up study of diet treated GDM women diagnosed during 1978 to 1985 at the Rigshospital, Copenhagen was performed. Glucose tolerance was evaluated in 241 women (81% of the GDM population) 2-11 years after pregnancy. Abnormal glucose tolerance was found in 34.4% of the women (3.7% IDDM, 13.7% NIDDM, 17% IGT) in contrast to a control group where none had diabetes and 5.3% had IGT. Logistic regression analysis identified the following independent risk factors for later development of diabetes: a high fasting glucose level at diagnosis of GDM, a delivery more than 3 weeks before term, and an abnormal OGTT 2 months postpartum. Low insulin secretion at diagnosis of GDM was also an independent risk factor. The presence of ICA and GAD-autoantibodies in pregnancy was associated with later development of IDDM. In another study the following techniques: hyperinsulinaemic euglycaemic clamp, indirect calorimetry and tritiated glucose infusion were used to evaluate insulin sensitivity in glucose tolerant nonobese women with previous GDM and controls. A decreased insulin sensitivity due to a decreased non-oxidative glucose metabolism in skeletal muscle was found in women with previous GDM. Hence, the activity of three key enzymes in intracellular glucose metabolism (GS, HK and PFK) was studied in skeletal muscle biopsies obtained in the basal state and after 3 h hyperinsulinaemia, with the aim to identify the cellular defects causing the decreased insulin sensitivity. However, no abnormalities in enzyme activity was found. The same group of previous GDM women had a relatively reduced insulin secretion evaluated by the IVGTT. A longitudinal study of 91 GDM women showed a relatively reduced insulin secretion to oral glucose in pregnancy, postpartum as well as 5-11 years later. Thus the present review has shown that even nonobese glucose tolerant women with previous GDM are characterized by the metabolic profile of NIDDM i.e. insulin resistance and impaired insulin secretion. Hence, the combination of this finding together with the significantly increased risk for development of diabetes indicates that all women with previous GDM should have a regular assessment of their glucose tolerance in the years after pregnancy. The first OGTT should be performed around 2 months postpartum in order to diagnose women already diabetic and to identify women with the highest risk for later development of overt diabetes. Women with previous GDM comprise a target group for future intervention trials with the aim to prevent or delay development of NIDDM and IDDM.

PMID:
9850811
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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