Gestational diabetes affects platelet behaviour through modified oxidative radical metabolism

Diabet Med. 2004 Jan;21(1):68-72. doi: 10.1046/j.1464-5491.2003.01081.x.


Aims: Patients with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes mellitus show altered platelet function including decreased nitric oxide synthase (NOS) activity and increased peroxynitrite production. Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a clinical condition which is ideal for evaluating short-term effects of impaired glucose metabolism, ruling out the possibility that the platelet abnormalities are a consequence of diabetic complications. The aim of the present work was to study NO metabolism in platelets from pregnant women with GDM. The production of peroxides was also studied as it is strongly involved in peroxynitrite formation.

Methods: Platelet NOS activity and peroxynitrite production, levels of hydroperoxides and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) in platelet membranes in the basal state and after in vitro peroxidative stress with phenylhydrazine were determined in 40 pregnant women with GDM, 40 healthy pregnant women (pregnant controls) of comparable age and gestational age, and 15 healthy non-pregnant women (controls).

Results: NOS activity was significantly increased in both groups of pregnant women compared with non-pregnant ones, and in GDM women compared with pregnant controls. Production of peroxynitrite was higher in GDM women than in pregnant controls, who also had significantly reduced production compared with non-pregnant women. Basal levels of peroxidation of the platelet membranes evaluated either by hydroperoxide content and TBARS levels or the susceptibility to peroxidation were increased in GDM patients in comparison with both control groups.

Conclusions: We have shown a modification in platelet NO and peroxynitrite production and an increase in platelet indicators of oxidative stress in GDM women compared with healthy pregnant women which might be at the basis of a cellular dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Platelets / enzymology
  • Blood Platelets / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Diabetes, Gestational / blood
  • Diabetes, Gestational / enzymology
  • Diabetes, Gestational / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / metabolism*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Peroxynitrous Acid / biosynthesis
  • Pregnancy
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances / metabolism


  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances
  • Peroxynitrous Acid
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase