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BJOG. 2001 Jul;108(7):716-20.

Prevalence and features of pancreatic islet cell autoimmunity in women with gestational diabetes from different ethnic groups.

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Section of Endocrinology and Metabolic Medicine, Imperial College School of Medicine at St Mary's Hospital, London, UK.



To assess the prevalence and characteristics of islet cell autoimmunity amongst women with gestational diabetes selected from South Asian and Afro-Caribbean as well as European populations.


Cross-sectional retrospective survey of subject cohort.


Three hundred and twenty-one women with a recent history of gestational diabetes (173 European, 86 South Asian and 62 Afro-Caribbean), a median (range) of 22 (1-150) months postpartum.


Antibodies to Glutamic acid decarboxylase were found in 13 (4%) of these women. There was no difference in the prevalence of anti-glutamic acid decarboxylase positivity between the three ethnic groups (European 4.6%, South Asian 3.5%, Afro-Caribbean 3.2%). Anti-glutamic acid decarboxylase positive women were leaner than anti-glutamic acid decarboxylase negative women (body mass index, median (upper-lower quartile) 23.9 (22.5-26.7) vs 26.6 (23.4-30.5)kg/m2, P = 0.03, P = 0.049 allowing for ethnicity). There was no difference between glutamic acid decarboxylase-positive and glutamic acid decarboxylase-negative women for age, family history of diabetes, waist/hip ratio, prevalence of insulin treatment during pregnancy, postpartum glucose status, lipid profile and indices of insulin action and beta-cell function.


Markers of islet cell autoimmunity are found as frequently in gestational diabetes women of South Asian and Afro-Caribbean origin, as they are in European subjects. Identification of future risk of type 1 diabetes is relevant to the planning of clinical management and intervention strategies in women with gestational diabetes of all major ethnic groups.

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