Objective: Common genetic variants in GCK and TCF7L2 are associated with higher fasting glucose and type 2 diabetes in nonpregnant populations. However, their associations with glucose levels from oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTTs) in pregnancy have not been assessed in a large sample. We hypothesized that these variants are associated with quantitative measures of glycemia in pregnancy.
Research design and methods: We analyzed the associations between variants rs1799884 (GCK) and rs7903146 (TCF7L2) and OGTT outcomes at 24-32 weeks' gestation in 3,811 mothers of European (U.K. and Australia) and 1,706 mothers of Asian (Thailand) ancestry from the HAPO cohort. We also tested associations with offspring birth anthropometrics.
Results: The maternal GCK variant was associated with higher fasting glucose in Europeans (P = 0.001) and Thais (P < 0.0001), 1-h glucose in Europeans (P = 0.001), and 2-h glucose in Thais (P = 0.005). It was also associated with higher European offspring birth weight, fat mass, and skinfold thicknesses (P < 0.05). The TCF7L2 variant was associated with all three maternal glucose outcomes (P = 0.03, P < 0.0001, and P < 0.0001 for fasting and 1-h and 2-h glucose, respectively) in the Europeans but not in the Thais (P > 0.05). In both populations, both variants were associated with higher odds of gestational diabetes mellitus according to the new International Association of Diabetes and Pregnancy Study Groups recommendations (P = 0.001-0.08).
Conclusions: Maternal GCK and TCF7L2 variants are associated with glucose levels known to carry an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcome in women without overt diabetes. Further studies will be important to determine the variance in maternal glucose explained by all known genetic variants.