We undertook this study to assess the relationship between circulating adipokines and insulin resistance during pregnancy and postpartum in women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).
This was a prospective study including 60 women with GDM and 60 subjects with normal gestation who were evaluated at gestational week 30, 6 weeks and 6 months postpartum. Circulating adipokines that were evaluated during the study were leptin, adiponectin, retinol-binding protein-4 (RBP4), and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α).
Women with GDM showed higher insulin resistance measured by HOMA-IR than subjects with normal gestation (2.3 ± 2.3 vs. 1.3 ± 0.95). There was no difference between groups in adipokines; however, in women with a healthy pregnancy, RBP4 was associated with insulin resistance (r = 0.47, p <0.05). At 6 weeks and 6 months postpartum, women with previous GDM exhibited persistent elevated leptin and insulin resistance. RBP4 was associated with insulin resistance only in women with a previous healthy pregnancy (r = 0.51, p <0.05). In addition, progressively impaired glucose tolerance was observed after delivery in women with previous GDM.
It was demonstrated that GDM is associated with greater insulin resistance than observed in normal pregnancy; however, adipokines are similar in both groups. RBP4 levels are significantly associated with insulin resistance in healthy women during pregnancy and postpartum. After a pregnancy complicated by GDM, leptin and insulin resistance remain elevated and glucose tolerance worsens.