Plasma fatty acids of neonates born to mothers with and without gestational diabetes

Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2005 May;72(5):335-41. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2005.01.001.


Women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and their neonates have lower levels of arachidonic (AA) and docosahexaenoic (DHA) acids in red cell membranes. It is not clear if this abnormality is restricted to red cells or is a generalised problem. We have investigated plasma fatty acids of neonates (venous cord) of GDM (n=37), and non-diabetic (n=31) women. The GDMs had lower levels of dihomogamma-linolenic (20:3n-6, DHGLA) acid, summation operator n-6 metabolites, DHA and summation operator n-3 metabolites (p<0.05) in choline phosphoglycerides (CPG). They also had lower levels of AA (-4.5%), adrenic acid (22:4n-6, -13%), osbond acid (22:5n-6, -7%) and summation operator n-6 (-2.5%). There was a similar pattern in triglycerides (TG) and cholesterol esters (CE). Mead acid, a marker of generalised shortage of derived and parent essential fatty acids, was higher in CPG and TG of the GDM group by 73% and 76%. The adrenic/osbond acid (22:4n-6/22:5n-6) ratio, a biochemical marker of DHA insufficiency, was reduced in CPG (-4.5%), TG (-63%) and CE (-75%) of the GDM group. These findings, which are consistent with the previous red cell data, suggest that the neuro-visual and vascular development and function of the offspring of GDM women may be adversely affected if the levels of AA and DHA are compromised further by other factors, pre- or post-natally. Studies are required to elucidate the underlying mechanism for the reduction of the two fatty acids and to evaluate the developmental and health implications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Diabetes, Gestational / blood*
  • Diet
  • Fatty Acids / blood*
  • Fatty Acids / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Fetal Blood / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn*
  • Pregnancy


  • Fatty Acids