, Volume 47, Issue 5, pp 878-884
Date: 17 Apr 2004

Genotypic and phenotypic differences between Arabian and Scandinavian women with gestational diabetes mellitus

Abstract

Aims/hypothesis

Gestational diabetes mellitus is a heterogeneous disorder characterised by impaired insulin secretion and action. Our aim was to study whether autoimmunity, variations in genes affecting insulin secretion and action, or both, contribute to the development of gestational diabetes and whether the pathogenesis of the disease differs between women with a Scandinavian or Arabian background.

Methods

We studied a total of 500 unrelated women with gestational diabetes (400 Scandinavian and 100 Arabian) and 550 unrelated pregnant non-diabetic control women (428 Scandinavian and 122 Arabian) matched for ethnicity.

Results

Arabian women with gestational diabetes were 50% more insulin resistant for the same BMI compared with Scandinavian women with the disease (homeostasis model assessment [HOMA-IR]; 3.2±0.3 vs 2.2±0.2, p=0.02). Both Scandinavian (4.2% vs 0.9%, p=0.008) and Arabian (4.6% vs 0.0%, p=0.03) women with gestational diabetes had a higher frequency of GAD antibodies (GAD65Ab) than the matched controls. The frequency of HLA-DQB1 risk genotypes was slightly higher in Scandinavian women with gestational diabetes than in the Scandinavian controls (46.3% vs 38.8%, p=0.03) but no significant difference was found between the Arabian women with gestational diabetes and the Arabian controls (47% vs 51.6%, p=0.47). There were no significant differences in the frequency of the insulin gene variable number of tandem repeat (INS VNTR) alleles and genotypes or the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma 2 (PPARγ2-Pro12Ala) polymorphism between the women with gestational diabetes and the control women either in Arabian or in Scandinavian women.

Conclusions/interpretation

Gestational diabetes mellitus was associated with the presence of GAD65Ab in both study groups. Scandinavian women with gestational diabetes may share some genetic features with Type 1 diabetes. In addition, Arabian women with gestational diabetes are more insulin resistant than Scandinavian women with gestational diabetes and with the same BMI.