The impact of ethnicity on glucose regulation and the metabolic syndrome following gestational diabetes.
Kousta E., Efstathiadou Z., Lawrence NJ., Jeffs JAR., Godsland IF., Barrett SC., Doré CJ., Penny A., Anyaoku V., Millauer BA., Cela E., Robinson S., McCarthy MI., Johnston DG.
AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: We assessed the impact of ethnic origin on metabolism in women following gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). MATERIALS AND METHODS: Glucose regulation and other features of the metabolic syndrome were studied at 20.0 (18.2-22.1) months (geometric mean [95% CI]) post-partum in women with previous GDM (185 European, 103 Asian-Indian, 80 African-Caribbean). They were compared with the same features in 482 normal control subjects who had normal glucose regulation during and following pregnancy. RESULTS: Impaired glucose regulation or diabetes by WHO criteria were present in 37% of women with previous GDM (diabetes in 17%), especially in those of African-Caribbean and Asian-Indian origin (50 and 44%, respectively vs 28% in European, p=0.009). BMI, waist circumference, diastolic blood pressure, fasting triglyceride and insulin levels, and insulin resistance by homeostatic model assessment (HOMA), were increased following GDM (p<0.001 for all, vs control subjects). Where glucose regulation was normal following GDM, basal insulin secretion (by HOMA) was high (p<0.001 vs control subjects). Irrespective of glucose regulation in pregnancy, Asian-Indian origin was associated with high triglyceride and low HDL cholesterol levels, and African-Caribbean with increased waist circumference, blood pressure, and insulin levels, together with insulin resistance and low triglyceride concentrations. Nonetheless, the GDM-associated features were consistent within each ethnic group. The metabolic syndrome by International Diabetes Federation criteria was present in 37% of women with previous GDM, especially in non-Europeans (Asian-Indian 49%, African-Caribbean 43%, European 28%, p=0.001), and in 10% of controls. CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: Following GDM, abnormal glucose regulation and the metabolic syndrome are common, especially in non-European women, indicating a need for diabetes and cardiovascular disease prevention strategies.