Early pregnancy metabolite profiling discovers a potential biomarker for the subsequent development of gestational diabetes mellitus
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- de Seymour, J.V., Conlon, C.A., Sulek, K. et al. Acta Diabetol (2014) 51: 887. doi:10.1007/s00592-014-0626-7
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Current early pregnancy screening tools to identify women at risk of developing gestational diabetes mellitus lack both specificity and sensitivity. As a result, the foetus and mother are often subjected to insult during disease progression, prior to diagnosis and treatment in later pregnancy. Metabolomics is an analytical approach, which allows for appraisal of small molecular mass compounds in a biofluid. The aim of this pilot study was to investigate the relationship between the early gestation serum metabolite profile and the subsequent development of gestational diabetes mellitus in the search for early pregnancy biomarkers and potential metabolic mechanisms. Our nested case-control study analysed maternal serum at 20 weeks’ gestation, obtained from the New Zealand cohort of the Screening for Pregnancy Endpoints study. Metabolomic profiling was performed using gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry, and metabolites were identified using R software and an in-house mass spectral library. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS version 21.0. Forty-eight metabolites were identified in the serum samples. Itaconic acid (P = 0.0003), with a false discovery rate of 0.012, was found to be significantly more abundant in women who subsequently developed gestational diabetes mellitus, when compared to controls with uncomplicated pregnancies. The current pilot study found that itaconic acid may have potential as a novel biomarker in early pregnancy to predict the subsequent development of gestational diabetes mellitus. However, the findings from this pilot study require validation with a larger, diverse population before translation into the clinical setting.