Study Reveals Gestational Diabetes Trends In India

An international team of scientists found that Indian women are more prone to gestational diabetes than Swedish women despite being leaner and having greater insulin sensitivity during pregnancy.

AsianScientist (May 7, 2019) – In a study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, researchers in India and Sweden report the risk factors associated with gestational diabetes in pregnant women from the two countries, and identified a gene linked to the condition.

Gestational diabetes is characterized by impaired insulin production and insulin secretion during pregnancy. The prevalence differs between different populations and can partly be explained by lifestyle and genes.

In the present study, scientists led by Dr. Geeti Aurora, a physician in the Indian state of Punjab, with colleagues at the Lund University Diabetes Centre, Sweden, assessed 507 Swedish women from Malmö and 4,018 Indian women from the state of Punjab for gestational diabetes. It is the largest study to date comparing gestational diabetes in Europeans and non-Europeans, and the first study to compare the incidence of gestational diabetes in India with Sweden.

The researchers found that the incidence of gestational diabetes was higher in Indian women than in Swedish women. Indian women are also on average ten years younger than their Swedish counterparts when they develop the disease. Yet, the team noted that Indian women are leaner and more insulin sensitive.

“[The fact that] Indian women seem to develop gestational diabetes at a lower body mass index even though they are insulin sensitive could indicate a more serious defect in insulin secretion,” said Dr. Rashmi Prasad at Lund University’s Diabetes Center, the first author on the study.

The researchers further examined 85 previously known risk genes for gestational diabetes and type 2 diabetes. They found that the gene, CRY2, which is of importance to the circadian rhythm, had a protective effect in Indian women but is associated with increased risk of gestational diabetes in Swedish women.

“It is interesting that the same gene has the opposite effect in the Indian and Swedish populations, and the question is whether it can be related to the shifting seasons in Scandinavia which don’t occur in India,” said Prasad.

The article can be found at: Arora et al. (2019) Phenotypic and Genotypic Differences Between Indian and Scandinavian Women with Gestational Diabetes Mellitus.


Source: Lund University; Photo: Pixabay.
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