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Increased prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in European women with a history of gestational diabetes

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)641-647
Number of pages7
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is common in type 2 diabetes but it is unknown whether NAFLD is prevalent in European women at risk of type 2 diabetes. We studied the prevalence of, and risk factors for, NAFLD in European women with previous gestational diabetes (GDM) at high risk of type 2 diabetes.

A total of 110 women with previous GDM and 113 without previous GDM, with non-diabetic glucose tolerance were recruited retrospectively from antenatal databases. Participants underwent liver ultrasound scan examination, anthropometry and blood sampling for liver function tests and to determine levels of fasting lipids, NEFA and insulin and glucose concentrations in order to derive insulin sensitivity and insulin secretion indices (HOMA%S and HOMA%B, respectively).

There was no significant difference in BMI in women with previous GDM compared with those without previous GDM (28.9 +/- 0.6 vs. 27.9 +/- 0.6 kg/m(2), respectively; p = 0.12). Women with previous GDM had higher fasting and 2 h glucose concentrations following a 75 g OGTT ([mean +/- SEM] fasting glucose 5.3 +/- 0.1 vs. 5.1 +/- 0.1 mmol/l, p = 0.02; 2 h glucose 6.8 +/- 0.2 vs. 5.8 +/- 0.3 mmol/l, p = 0.02), dyslipidaemia (LDL-cholesterol 3.3 +/- 0.1 vs. 2.8 +/- 0.1 mmol/l; HDL-cholesterol [median {interquartile range}] 1.3 [1.2-1.6] vs. 1.8 [1.5-1.9] mmol/l; triacylglycerol 1.3 [0.9-1.6] vs. 1.0 [0.7-1.7] mmol/l, all p a parts per thousand currency signaEuro parts per thousand 0.03), higher insulin secretion and lower insulin sensitivity. NAFLD prevalence was greater in women with previous GDM compared with those without previous GDM: 38% (95% CI 28-47%) vs. 17% (95% CI 10-24%), p = 0.001. In multiple logistic regression analysis, lower insulin sensitivity and raised serum alanine transaminase concentrations were associated with NAFLD.

NAFLD is prevalent in European women with previous GDM. Impaired insulin sensitivity and increased liver transaminase activity are closely associated with NAFLD in these women.

    Research areas

  • Alanine transaminase, Gestational diabetes, Insulin sensitivity, Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, Type 2 diabetes

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