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Prevalence of zinc transporter 8 antibodies in gestational diabetes mellitus


Magnus Hillman. E-mail:


Diabet. Med. 29, e436–e439 (2012)


Aims  Gestational diabetes mellitus affects approximately 7% of all pregnant women. Some of these women develop autoantibodies that are generally characteristic of Type 1 diabetes. Autoantibodies targeting glutamic acid decarboxylase and tyrosine phosphatase-like protein are the most frequently reported. A recently identified autoantigen in Type 1 diabetes is zinc transporter 8. Some reports suggest that the frequency of zinc transporter 8 antibodies is as high as glutamic acid decarboxylase antibodies in Type 1 diabetes and thus a good diagnostic marker for autoimmune diabetes. There are currently no reports of zinc transporter 8 antibodies in gestational diabetes. The aim of this pilot study was to investigate the frequency of zinc transporter 8 antibodies in patients at clinical onset of gestational diabetes mellitus.

Methods  Subjects included in this pilot study were all diagnosed with gestational diabetes at Skåne University Hospital, Lund, Sweden, 2009–2010 (n = 193). Sera samples were analysed for antibodies using a commercial enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay according to the manufacturers’ instructions.

Results  We found that 19/193 patients with gestational diabetes, diagnosed in 2009–2010, were positive for at least one autoantibody. Glutamic acid decarboxylase was the most common single autoantibody (52.6%; 10/19), followed by zinc transporter 8 (21.1%; 4/19) and tyrosine phosphatase-like protein (15.8%; 3/19). Combinations of two or more antibodies were rare (10.5%; 2/19).

Conclusions  In this study, we found that zinc transporter 8 added 2.1% (4/193) of autoantibody positivity in women with gestational diabetes who were negative for glutamic acid decarboxylase and tyrosine phosphatase-like protein antibodies. Glutamic acid decarboxylase was still the most prevalent autoantibody in gestational diabetes, but, as zinc transporter 8 was present even in the absence of glutamic acid decarboxylase, this autoantibody could be an important independent marker of autoimmunity in gestational diabetes.