The changes of neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin in plasma and its expression in adipose tissue in pregnant women with gestational diabetes

Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2014 Apr;104(1):136-42. doi: 10.1016/j.diabres.2014.01.014. Epub 2014 Jan 30.


Aims: To investigate plasma levels and the expression of neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin (NGAL) in subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) in patients with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).

Methods: The study recruited 260 Chinese women divided into three groups: 96 were healthy pregnant women with pre-pregnancy body mass index (pre-pregnancy BMI) below 25kg/m(2) (GROUP 1), 84 were women with GDM with pre-pregnancy BMI below 25kg/m(2) (GROUP 2) and 80 were women with GDM with pre-pregnancy BMI over 25kg/m(2) (GROUP 3). Laboratory and anthropometric measurements were recorded and NGAL plasma levels were determined by ELISA for subjects in all groups. Real-time RT-PCR and Western blotting were used to assess the relative mRNA and protein expression of NGAL and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) in SAT (30 cases in each group).

Results: Our results demonstrated statistically significant elevation in plasma NGAL concentrations in GROUP 2 and GROUP 3 compared with GROUP 1 (p<0.001 for both group comparisons). Moreover, SAT NGAL mRNA (p<0.001 and p<0.001, respectively) and protein (p<0.001 and p<0.001, respectively) expression levels were higher in GROUP 3 than in both GROUP 1 and GROUP 2. Correlations were noted between the plasma NGAL concentration and various parameters of insulin resistance.

Conclusions: Plasma NGAL may play a role in the development of insulin resistance in GDM, and the high levels of NGAL expression in SAT in overweight women with GDM suggests that NGAL in SAT is associated with obesity in women with GDM.

Keywords: Adipose tissue; Gene expression; Gestational diabetes mellitus; Neutrophil gelatinase-associated lipocalin; Tumor necrosis factor-α.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute-Phase Proteins / genetics*
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Adult
  • Blotting, Western
  • Body Mass Index
  • Diabetes, Gestational / blood*
  • Diabetes, Gestational / genetics*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Lipocalin-2
  • Lipocalins / blood*
  • Lipocalins / genetics*
  • Obesity / genetics
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Pregnancy
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / blood*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics*
  • RNA / genetics
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Acute-Phase Proteins
  • LCN2 protein, human
  • Lipocalin-2
  • Lipocalins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • RNA