Diabetes Leads to Alterations in Normal Metabolic Transitions of Pregnancy as Revealed by Time-Course Metabolomics

Metabolites. 2020 Aug 27;10(9):350. doi: 10.3390/metabo10090350.


Women with diabetes during pregnancy are at increased risk of poor maternal and neonatal outcomes. Despite this, the effects of pre-gestational (PGDM) or gestational diabetes (GDM) on metabolism during pregnancy are not well understood. In this study, we utilized metabolomics to identify serum metabolic changes in women with and without diabetes during pregnancy and the cord blood at birth. We observed elevations in tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle intermediates, carbohydrates, ketones, and lipids, and a decrease in amino acids across gestation in all individuals. In early gestation, PGDM had elevations in branched-chain amino acids and sugars compared to controls, whereas GDM had increased lipids and decreased amino acids during pregnancy. In both GDM and PGDM, carbohydrate and amino acid pathways were altered, but in PGDM, hemoglobin A1c and isoleucine were significantly increased compared to GDM. Cord blood from GDM and PGDM newborns had similar increases in carbohydrates and choline metabolism compared to controls, and these alterations were not maternal in origin. Our results revealed that PGDM and GDM have distinct metabolic changes during pregnancy. A better understanding of diabetic metabolism during pregnancy can assist in improved management and development of therapeutics and help mitigate poor outcomes in both the mother and newborn.

Keywords: diabetes; metabolomics; pregnancy.