Background: Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) associates with health complications in both mother and child. Obesity and impaired adipose tissue (AT) health associate with the development of GDM. However, recent studies have shown that impaired AT health may occur in the absence of obesity. In this study we studied if AT health associates with the development of GDM in non-obese women. Method: Pregnant women diagnosed with GDM were studied. Age- and body mass index (BMI)-matched non-GDM women were enrolled as Controls (n=6 per group). Fasting blood and AT samples were obtained before and during cesarian section, respectively. The serum levels of adiponectin were measured using Bioplex assay. The expression of phosphorylated p38 (p-p38) in AT was measured using Western blotting, and the average values of adipocyte sizes were estimated. The differences in variables between the groups were determined using two-tailed unequal variance Student t test; p < 0.was considered as statistically significant.

Results: There were no difference in age (Control vs. GDM: 31±1 vs. 31±2, p = 0.973) and pre-pregnancy BMI (Control vs. GDM: 26±1 vs. 25±1, p = 0.852). In the GDM group, the serum concentration of adiponectin was significantly lower (Control vs. GDM: 16±3 vs. 7±1, p = 0.021); while the AT expression of p-p38 was significantly higher (Control vs. GDM: 0.55±0.14 vs. 1.42±0.23, p = 0.013). The adipocyte size was 11% lower in the GDM group, although the difference did not reach statistical significance (Control vs. GDM: 100±6 vs. 89±5, p = 0.173).

Conclusion: Our data demonstrate that AT health may play a significant role in the development of GDM in non-obese women. Future studies to determine the mechanisms whereby AT health leads to the development GDM in the absence of obesity are warranted.


D.R. Tuvdendorj: None. B. Tumurbaatar: None. A. Poole: None. S. Thukuntla: None. G.O. Koutrouvelis: None. N. Abate: None.

Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. More information is available at