Elevated placental growth factor concentrations at 11-14 weeks of gestation to predict gestational diabetes mellitus

Metabolism. 2014 Nov;63(11):1419-25. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2014.07.016. Epub 2014 Aug 5.


Objective: To examine maternal serum concentrations of placental growth factor (PlGF) at 11-14 gestational weeks in pregnancies that developed gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and to create first trimester prediction models for GDM.

Methods: Case control study including 40 GDM cases and 94 controls. PlGF, biophysical and biochemical markers and maternal-pregnancy characteristics were analyzed.

Results: Log10 transformed PlGF (log10 PlGF) was not related to maternal factors. Log10 PlGF was increased (p=0.008) in the GDM group compared to the control group. Log10 PlGF was associated with fasting glucose levels (p=0.04) in the oral glucose tolerance test. Log10 PlGF had a strong relation with birth weight adjusted for gestational age in the control but not in the GDM group. Maternal weight and maternal age were the only predictors of GDM among the maternal factors [area under the curve (AUC)=0.73, p<0.001]. Log10 PlGF alone was a significant predictor of GDM (AUC=0.63, p<0.001). Combination of maternal weight, maternal age and log10 PlGF resulted in an improved prediction (DR=71.4%, for 25% FPR, AUC=0.78, Model R(2)=0.17, p<0.001).

Conclusion: At 11-14weeks in pregnancies that develop GDM, the maternal serum levels of PlGF are increased. Measurement of serum PlGF at 11-14weeks improves the performance of early screening for GDM provided by maternal factors alone.

Keywords: First trimester screening; Glucose; PlGF; Prediction model; Pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Birth Weight
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Diabetes, Gestational / blood
  • Diabetes, Gestational / diagnosis*
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Placenta Growth Factor
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Proteins / blood*
  • Pregnancy Trimester, First
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Second


  • PGF protein, human
  • Pregnancy Proteins
  • Placenta Growth Factor