Steroids and insulin resistance in pregnancy

J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2014 Jan;139:122-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2012.11.007. Epub 2012 Nov 29.


Metabolism of glucose during pregnancy reflects the equilibrium between lactogenic hormones stimulating insulin production and counterregulatory hormones inducing insulin resistance. In physiological pregnancies, insulin-mediated glucose uptake is substantially decreased and insulin secretion increased to maintain euglycemia. This common state of peripheral insulin resistance arises also due to steroid spectra changes. In this review article, we have focused on the role of steroid hormones (androgens, estrogens, gestagens, mineralocorticoids, glucocorticoids, as well as secosteroid vitamin D) in the impairment of glucose tolerance in pregnancy and in the pathogenesis of gestational diabetes mellitus. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled 'Pregnancy and Steroids'.

Keywords: Gestational diabetes mellitus; Glycoregulation; Insulin resistance; Pregnancy; Steroids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / physiology
  • Animals
  • Diabetes, Gestational / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Pregnancy
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin / metabolism
  • Vitamin D / physiology


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Gonadal Steroid Hormones
  • Sex Hormone-Binding Globulin
  • Vitamin D