Bile acid metabolites in early pregnancy and risk of gestational diabetes mellitus: Results from a prospective cohort study

Diabetes Obes Metab. 2023 May 10. doi: 10.1111/dom.15104. Online ahead of print.


Aims: To evaluate the associations of plasma bile acid metabolites, especially in early pregnancy, with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) risk among pregnant women.

Materials and methods: Plasma concentrations of 15 bile acid metabolites were measured in 645 women at early pregnancy from the Jiashan Birth Cohort using a liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry metabolomics platform. Using logistic and cubic spline models, we examined associations between baseline plasma bile acid metabolites and GDM risk during mid-late pregnancy. A meta-analysis of prospective studies of bile acid and GDM risk was performed.

Results: The linear and nonlinear univariate models identified eight metabolites associated with GDM, including cholic acid, taurocholic acid (TCA), glycocholic acid, glycochenodeoxycholic acid, deoxycholic acid, lithocholic acid (LCA), ursodeoxycholic acid and taurolithocholic acid (all P <0.05). Multivariable analysis indicated that TCA and LCA levels were positively (odds ratio [OR] 2.07, 95% confidential interval [CI] 1.05, 3.96; P = 0.030) and negatively (OR 0.83, 95% CI 0.68, 1.01; P = 0.065) associated with GDM, respectively, after adjusting for confounders. The TCA-GDM association showed a positive linear shaped relationship (OR 2.07, 95% CI 1.05, 3.96; P = 0.030); while LCA was negatively related with GDM risk in linearity (OR 0.83, 95% CI 0.68, 1.01; P = 0.065). The meta-analysis of five studies showed a consistent bile acid and GDM association, with a risk ratio (RR) of 2.43 (1.95, 3.03).

Conclusions: This study indicated that, the levels of circulating bile acids in early pregnancy were associated with risk of GDM, independent of GDM risk factors. Most GDM-associated bile acids were primary conjugated and secondary unconjugated bile acids.

Keywords: bile acid metabolites; gestational diabetes mellitus; glucose; prospective cohort study.