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Diabet Med. 2006 Nov;23(11):1213-5.

Mother to child transmission of diabetes mellitus: does gestational diabetes program Type 2 diabetes in the next generation?

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Centre for Diabetes and Endocrinology Research, Westmead Hospital and University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.



Type 2 diabetes is frequently familial. Hyperglycaemia in pregnancy might act in addition to genetic factors to cause diabetes in the children of mothers with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). The first manifestation of this in female offspring is likely to be GDM in their own pregnancies. We compared the incidence of GDM in daughters of diabetic mothers and diabetic fathers to determine if in utero exposure to hyperglycaemia increased the risk of a diabetes-prone phenotype in offspring.


We analysed the outcome of a GDM screening programme in women with a family history of diabetes in their mother (n = 535), father (n = 566), both parents (n = 77) or neither (n = 4672).


GDM was twice as common in the daughters of diabetic mothers (11%) than diabetic fathers (5%, P = 0.002). Women with two diabetic parents were no more likely to have GDM than women with only a diabetic mother.


Genetic predisposition to GDM should be equally shared by daughters of diabetic mothers and fathers. An excess of maternal transmission of diabetes is consistent with an epigenetic effect of hyperglycaemia in pregnancy acting in addition to genetic factors to produce diabetes in the next generation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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