High blood sugar in pregnancy raise diabetes risk for children

13:39, June 23, 2010      

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Pregnant women with high blood sugar may lead to low insulin sensitivity in children, thus raising the risk of type 2 diabetes, a new study suggests.

There is an apparent link between high blood sugar in pregnant women and low insulin sensitivity in children, according to the study presented Tuesday at The Endocrine Society's 92nd Annual Meeting in San Diego, about 90 miles (about 144 kilometers) south of Los Angeles.

Low insulin sensitivity is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

The children's reduced insulin sensitivity was independent of their amount of body fat, researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham said in the study.

"We know that children born to women with type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes, or who have high blood sugar during pregnancy are at risk of becoming diabetic themselves. This study suggests that the children's increased risk appears to be due, at least in part, to their prenatal exposure to relatively high maternal blood glucose," said study co-author Paula Chandler-Laney, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow at the university.

Chandler-Laney and her colleagues studied 21 children ages five to 10 years and measured the children's sensitivity to insulin, the hormone that regulates sugar in the blood. They also evaluated the pregnancy medical records of the children's mothers to determine maternal blood sugar concentration during the oral glucose tolerance test.

The researchers found an inverse association between maternal blood sugar during pregnancy and the child's insulin sensitivity, meaning that the higher the mother's blood sugar levels during pregnancy, the lower her child's insulin sensitivity.

In addition, children exposed to high blood sugar levels in the womb also were more likely to have exaggerated insulin secretion after a meal, independent of their reduced insulin sensitivity. Relatively high insulin secretion is also associated with increased risk for later development of type 2 diabetes, Chandler- Laney explained.

"High maternal blood glucose during pregnancy may have lasting effects on children's insulin sensitivity and secretion, potentially raising the risk for type 2 diabetes," Chandler-Laney said.

Source: Xinhua

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