Cytokine levels in gestational diabetes mellitus: a systematic review of the literature

Am J Reprod Immunol. 2013 Jun;69(6):545-57. doi: 10.1111/aji.12088. Epub 2013 Feb 18.


Problem: Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is an inflammatory condition that involves unbalanced cytokine production. We carried out a systematic review on the relationship between GDM and maternal circulating levels of cytokines in the 2nd/3rd trimesters.

Method of study: Three electronic databases (MEDLINE, EMBASE and LILACS), were searched. Duplicate study selection, extraction and quality assessment was performed.

Results: Twenty-two studies with 1982 participants reporting levels of 9 cytokines (IL-1B, IL-2, IL-6, IL-10, IL-13, IL-18, IFN-G, TGF-B and TNF-A) were included. Most studies differed considerably in selection criteria, sampling and assay methods and in reporting their results. Consequently, only two studies could be pooled: TNF-A concentration was slightly higher in GDM than in control patients, although not significant (WMD=0.45, 95% CI -0.34-1.23).

Conclusions: New studies with well-defined, more homogeneous methodological parameters are needed to detect whether there are significant differences in circulating levels of cytokines in patients with GDM.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Diabetes, Gestational / blood
  • Diabetes, Gestational / immunology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation Mediators / blood*
  • Pregnancy


  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation Mediators