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Testing for blood sugar with a fingerprick test

There is mounting evidence of increased risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and cardiovascular disease (CVD) in women who, when pregnant, experienced gestational diabetes (GDM). The elevated risk is observed in the decade after delivery.

In their study published in Nutrition and Diabetes, researchers from the Ozanne and Koulman groups studied mice fed on a high fat, high sugar, obesogenic diet and that have gone on to develop pregnancy-associated diabetes which resolved after the pregnancy. These mice were used as a proxy or ‘model’ for women who have experienced GDM.

Joint first author Samuel Furse said:

The reasons why women develop type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease after developing pregnancy-associated diabetes are not known, which makes it harder to catch early and treat.

The team measured the distribution of different types of lipids (fats) seen in a range of body tissues and compared these to a group of mice fed on a standard diet and that had not experienced GDM. The research suggests that the different lipid distribution seen in the GDM group might be part of the reason that T2DM tends to develop in that group. They also found that the way lipid metabolism was controlled differed between the two groups of mice.

Joint first author Denise Fernandez-Twinn said:

Even though the mice were able to adequately control their glucose levels post-pregnancy, changes to their lipid metabolism and traffic persisted. We therefore hypothesised that long-lasting changes to lipid metabolism might contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in women previously affected by GDM.

She added:

The current study along with our previous work together shows that systemic problems with lipid metabolism occur during and after GDM but outlast pregnancy.

This suggests that a dysregulated lipid metabolism that starts during GDM might underlie mechanisms leading to the eventual development of T2DM and CVD in women.

Samuel Furse concluded:

Understanding the lipid control mechanisms that drive the emergence of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease can be used to inform the development of new treatments for these conditions and to understand how existing treatments can be used better.


This article has been reproduced (with slight modifications) from the Institute of Metabolic Science - Metabolic Research Laboratories website.



Furse, S., Fernandez-Twinn, D.S., Beeson, J.H. et al. A mouse model of gestational diabetes shows dysregulated lipid metabolism post-weaning, after return to euglycaemia. Nutr. Diabetes 12, 8 (2022).