Metabolomic and genetic associations with insulin resistance in pregnancy

for the HAPO Study Cooperative Research Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Aims/hypothesis: Our study aimed to integrate maternal metabolic and genetic data related to insulin sensitivity during pregnancy to provide novel insights into mechanisms underlying pregnancy-induced insulin resistance. Methods: Fasting and 1 h serum samples were collected from women in the Hyperglycemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcome study who underwent an OGTT at ∼28 weeks’ gestation. We obtained targeted and non-targeted metabolomics and genome-wide association data from 1600 and 4528 mothers, respectively, in four ancestry groups (Northern European, Afro-Caribbean, Mexican American and Thai); 1412 of the women had both metabolomics and genome-wide association data. Insulin sensitivity was calculated using a modified insulin sensitivity index that included fasting and 1 h glucose and C-peptide levels after a 75 g glucose load. Results: Per-metabolite and network analyses across the four ancestries identified numerous metabolites associated with maternal insulin sensitivity before and 1 h after a glucose load, ranging from amino acids and carbohydrates to fatty acids and lipids. Genome-wide association analyses identified 12 genetic variants in the glucokinase regulatory protein gene locus that were significantly associated with maternal insulin sensitivity, including a common functional missense mutation, rs1260326 (β = −0.2004, p = 4.67 × 10−12 in a meta-analysis across the four ancestries). This SNP was also significantly associated with multiple fasting and 1 h metabolites during pregnancy, including fasting and 1 h triacylglycerols and 2-hydroxybutyrate and 1 h lactate, 2-ketoleucine/ketoisoleucine and palmitoleic acid. Mediation analysis suggested that 1 h palmitoleic acid contributes, in part, to the association of rs1260326 with maternal insulin sensitivity, explaining 13.7% (95% CI 4.0%, 23.3%) of the total effect. Conclusions/interpretation: The present study demonstrates commonalities between metabolites and genetic variants associated with insulin sensitivity in the gravid and non-gravid states and provides insights into mechanisms underlying pregnancy-induced insulin resistance. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1783-1795
Number of pages13
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • GCKR
  • Genome-wide association studies
  • Insulin sensitivity
  • Metabolomics
  • Pregnancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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