Gene variation linked to pregnancy-related diabetes

Some women are prone to develop diabetes during pregnancy, and new research indicates that a variation in a specific gene may be the cause in some cases

Austrian scientists have found that a variant of a gene called calpain-10 gene is associated with the development of so-called gestational diabetes, according to a report in the medical journal Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Calpain-10 produces an enzyme involved in the processing of glucose in skeletal muscle cells, the authors explain. A particular form of the gene, designated haplotype 112/121, has already been linked to impaired glucose tolerance and type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Christof Worda and colleagues from the University of Vienna Medical School examined the 10 most common variants of calpain-10 in 80 pregnant women 40 with gestational diabetes and 40 without.

Gestational diabetes was present in all women with the haplotype 121/221 form, the team found.

“Our results indicate that the haplotype 121/221 of the calpain-10 gene may be associated with disturbances of glucose metabolism during pregnancy,” the authors conclude.

SOURCE: Obstetrics and Gynecology, June 2004.

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Revision date: July 6, 2011
Last revised: by David A. Scott, M.D.