VDR Variants rather than Early Pregnancy Vitamin D Concentrations Are Associated with the Risk of Gestational Diabetes: The Ma'anshan Birth Cohort (MABC) Study

J Diabetes Res. 2019 Jun 24;2019:8313901. doi: 10.1155/2019/8313901. eCollection 2019.


Aim: This study investigated the associations among early pregnancy vitamin D concentrations, seasonality, and vitamin D metabolic gene variants and how these variables related alone and in interaction with the risk of gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).

Methods: Research participants were women from the Ma'anshan birth cohort study in China. The overall study included 3110 women to explore the association between early pregnancy vitamin D concentrations and the risk of GDM. In the current analysis, a nested case-control study of 274 GDM cases and 380 controls was conducted to investigate seven vitamin D metabolic gene variants and the risk of GDM. Vitamin D concentrations were measured by radioimmunoassay. Genotypes were determined by improved multiple ligase detection reaction. Interactions between genetic variants and vitamin D as predictors of the risk of GDM were evaluated by a pair-wise analysis under a multiplicative interaction model.

Results: Vitamin D concentrations were not significantly associated with the risk of GDM (OR = 0.79, 95% CI = 0.55-1.13) after adjusting for seasonality. Fall-winter conceptions had a 37% decreased risk of GDM compared with spring-summer conceptions (OR = 0.63, 95% CI = 0.49-0.81), independent of vitamin D concentrations. Two VDR gene variants rs1544410 (OR = 2.03, 95% CI = 1.17-3.51 for CT versus CC) and rs731236 (OR = 2.42, 95% CI = 1.29-4.55 for GA versus AA) were significantly associated with the risk of GDM. No interactions among genetic variants and vitamin D concentrations were detected.

Conclusion: Early pregnancy vitamin D insufficiency or deficiency was not significantly associated with the risk of GDM. The results of this study emphasize the importance of genetic variants in VDR and conception season as factors that affect the risk of GDM.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Case-Control Studies
  • China / epidemiology
  • Diabetes, Gestational / diagnosis
  • Diabetes, Gestational / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genotype
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / etiology*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Receptors, Calcitriol / genetics*
  • Risk
  • Vitamin D / blood*
  • Young Adult


  • Receptors, Calcitriol
  • VDR protein, human
  • Vitamin D