Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Diabetes research and clinical practice


Adult; Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2; Diabetes, Gestational; Female; Humans; Male; MicroRNAs; Obesity; Pregnancy; Pregnancy Complications; Risk


AIMS: Epigenetic regulators, including microRNAs (miRNAs), are implicated in type 2 diabetes, but evidence linking circulating miRNAs in pregnancy and risk of gestational diabetes (GDM) is sparse. Potential modifiers, including pre-pregnancy overweight/obesity and offspring sex, are unexamined. We hypothesized that circulating levels of early-mid-pregnancy (range 7-23weeks of gestation) candidate miRNAs are related to subsequent development of GDM. We also hypothesized that miRNA-GDM associations might vary by pre-pregnancy body-mass index (ppBMI) or offspring sex.

METHODS: In a case-control analysis (36GDM cases/80 controls) from the Omega study, a prospective cohort study of pregnancy complications, we measured early-mid-pregnancy plasma levels of 10miRNAs chosen for potential roles in pregnancy course and complications (miR-126-3p, -155-5p, -21-3p, -146b-5p, -210-3p, -222-3p, -223-3p, -517-5p, -518a-3p, and 29a-3p) using qRT-PCR. Logistic regression models adjusted for gestational age at blood draw (GA) were fit to compare circulating miRNAs between cases and controls. We repeated analyses among overweight/obese (ppBMI≥25kg/m

RESULTS: Mean age was 34.3years (cases) and 32.9years (controls). GA-adjusted miR-155-5p (β=0.260/p=0.028) and -21-3p (β=0.316/p=0.005) levels were positively associated with GDM. MiR-146b-5p (β=0.266/p=0.068) and miR-517-5p (β=0.196/p=0.074) were borderline. Associations of miR-21-3p and miR-210-3p with GDM were observed among overweight/obese but not lean women. Associations of six miRNAs (miR-155-5p, -21-3p, -146b-5p, -223-3p, -517-5p, and -29a-3p) with GDM were present only among women carrying male fetuses (all p<0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: Circulating early-mid-pregnancy miRNAs are associated with GDM, particularly among women who are overweight/obese pre-pregnancy or pregnant with male offspring. This area has potential to clarify mechanisms underlying GDM pathogenesis and identify at-risk mothers earlier in pregnancy.

Clinical Institute

Women & Children

Clinical Institute

Kidney & Diabetes


Obstetrics & Gynecology