Association between retinol-binding protein 4 concentrations and gestational diabetes mellitus (A1GDM and A2GDM) in different pregnancy and postpartum periods

Xiyu Du, Yunan Dong, Li Xiao, Guang-Hui Liu, Wei Qin, Hong Yu


Background: Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) can cause severe adverse effects on fetal and neonatal outcomes. The following study investigates the relationship between retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4) and GDM in pregnant women with different grades (A1 and A2) and different gestational weeks.
Methods: In this retrospective study, 194 GDM patients (GDM group) and 67 normal glucose tolerance pregnant women (control group) were enrolled from 2014 to 2017. Elbow venous blood samples were collected from all subjects. Enzyme electrode method and enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) were used for fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and RBP4/insulin levels (FINS) analysis, respectively.
Results: At middle pregnancy and late stage, FINS, insulin resistance index (HOMA-IR) and RBP4 were all significantly higher in the GDM group compared to control group (P<0.05). Higher HOMA-IR and RBP4 levels, and lower levels of FPG were observed at late stage than those middle pregnancy in the GDM group (P<0.05). Moreover, FINS and RBP4 gradually decreased from middle pregnancy and late stage after delivery in the GDM group. Levels of FINS and RBP4 in postpartum GDM group were higher than those in normal control group (P<0.05). The optimal cut-off value of RBP4 at middle pregnancy diagnostic GDM was 34.84 μg/mL with sensitivity of 79.4% and specificity of 79.1%. The OGTT0h, 2h in A2GDM group was higher than that in A1GDM group, but there was no difference in OGTT1h, age and FINS, RBP4 in both A1GDM and A2GDM group.
Conclusions: RBP4 is closely related to GDM, and its levels increases with the increase of gestational weeks, which may reflect the development of insulin resistance in GDM. RBP4 suggests that the impaired insulin function of GDM in pregnant women is still difficult to recover in the short term after delivery. Compared with OGTT1h, the increase in OGTT0h and 2h levels during middle pregnancy is more helpful for predicting the risk of developing A2GDM at late stage.