Why do Asian-born Women Have a Higher Incidence of Gestational Diabetes? An Analysis of Racial Differences in Body Habitus, Lipid Metabolism and the Serum Insulin Response to an Oral Glucose Load

Authors

  • David C. Shelley-Jones MRCOG, FRACOG,

    1. Mercy Hospital for Women and Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology5, Royal Melbourne Hospital and Department of Medicine6, University of Melbourne, Victoria
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    • 1

      Research Fellow.

  • Peter Wein FRACOG,

    Corresponding author
    1. Mercy Hospital for Women and Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology5, Royal Melbourne Hospital and Department of Medicine6, University of Melbourne, Victoria
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    • 2

      Senior Lecturer.

  • Christopher Nolan FRACP,

    1. Mercy Hospital for Women and Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology5, Royal Melbourne Hospital and Department of Medicine6, University of Melbourne, Victoria
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  • Norman A. Beischer MD, MGO, FRACS, FRACOG

    1. Mercy Hospital for Women and Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology5, Royal Melbourne Hospital and Department of Medicine6, University of Melbourne, Victoria
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    • 4

      Professor.


  • 3

    NHMRC Postgraduate Research Fellow.

7 Address for correspondence: Dr. Peter Wein, University of Melbourne Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Mercy Hospital for Women, Clarendon Street, East Melbourne, Vic 3002.

Abstract

Summary: We have observed a higher incidence of gestational diabetes (GDM) in Asian-born than in Caucasian women. Body habitus, serum lipid levels and the serum insulin response to a glucose load in pregnancy were compared in 15 women with normal glucose tolerance, 16 Caucasian women with GDM and 19 Asian-born women with GDM. Caucasian women with GDM, unlike Asian-born women with GDM, were obese compared with control women as measured by body mass index (p = 0.022). Both groups of GDM women had similar patterns of insulin response to oral glucose with a delayed insulin peak and an elevated 2-hour insulin level (p = 0.0021). In addition, the insulin response per unit of glycaemic stimulus (incremental insulin area/incremental glucose area at 1 hour) was reduced in both GDM groups (p = 0.035). Fasting serum triglyceride levels were higher in women with GDM although this was only significant in the

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