Background: Amylin is a novel 37 amino acid peptide hormone that is co-secreted with insulin from the pancreas in response to food intake. As a potent inhibitor of gastric emptying it plays an important role in the control of carbohydrate absorption. Feed intolerance is common in infants of diabetic mothers (IDM).
Aims: To establish a normal range of amylin levels in healthy neonates, and to determine whether serum amylin levels are raised in IDM.
Methods: A serial sample of 221 infants > or =28 weeks gestation was enrolled prior to delivery over a 12 month period. Blood samples collected immediately after birth (umbilical cord), and at the routine Guthrie test were analysed for amylin and insulin levels.
Results: Amylin levels in umbilical cord (n = 181) and Guthrie samples (n = 33) of healthy infants were 5.7 (3.0-9.1) and 6.9 (2.9-9.0) pmol/l respectively. IDM had significantly raised amylin levels in both cord (n = 31; 32.7 pmol/l, 25.9-48.1) and Guthrie samples (n = 8; 18.1 pmol/l, 15.3-23.6). Amylin correlated positively with insulin (n = 42; r = 0.67; 95% CI 0.4 to 0.81), birth weight (r = 0.22; 95% CI 0.08 to 0.36), and gestation (r = 0.18; 95% CI 0.03 to 0.32). Umbilical cord venous amylin levels showed agreement with arterial cord amylin levels (n = 34, mean bias -0.2, 95% CI 3.1 to -3.6).
Conclusions: Amylin levels are significantly increased in the umbilical cord and Guthrie blood samples in IDM.