Glucose and amino acid turnover in untreated gestational diabetes

Dawn M. Zimmer, Alan M. Golichowski, Cheryl A. Karn, Ginger Brechtel, Alain D. Baron, Scott C. Denne

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

18 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE - Although gestational diabetes affects as many as 3% of all pregnant women, specific aspects of glucose and protein metabolism in this population have not been clearly delineated. We tested the hypothesis that gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) results in increased glucose production and proteolysis during fasting. RESEARCH AND DESIGN AND METHODS - Using tracer isotope infusions, the rate of appearance (R(a)) of glucose, leucine, phenylalanine and tyrosine, phenylalanine hydroxylation, leucine oxidation, and urea nitrogen excretion were determined after an overnight fast in 10 GDM subjects, within 2 weeks of diagnosis before initiation of treatment, and in a matched control group of nine healthy nondiabetic pregnant women. RESULTS - Fasting glucose R(a) was similar in GDM patients and control subjects (GDM, 12.8 ± 1.1 vs. control subjects, 12.8 ± 0.9 μmol · kg-1 · min-1). Leucine and phenylalanine R(a) (reflecting proteolysis) also were not different between GDM patients and control subjects (GDM leucine R(a), 1.28 ± 14 vs. control subjects, 124 ± 5; phenylalanine R(a) GDM, 35 ± 4 vs. control subjects, 40 ± 2 μmol · kg-1 · h-1). Furthermore, leucine oxidation and phenylalanine hydroxylation were not increased in GDM subjects; urea nitrogen excretion was actually lower in GDM patients. However, fasting insulin concentrations were significantly elevated in GDM subjects (GDM, 165 ± 35 vs. control subjects, 30 ± 5 pmol/l; P < 0.01). CONCLUSIONS: Hepatic glucose release and whole-body proteolysis in GDM patients were remarkably similar to matched pregnant control subjects. This was achieved with insulin concentrations three- to fivefold higher than normal, suggesting significant insulin resistance for both glucose and protein metabolism in GDM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)591-596
Number of pages6
JournalDiabetes care
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing

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    Zimmer, D. M., Golichowski, A. M., Karn, C. A., Brechtel, G., Baron, A. D., & Denne, S. C. (1996). Glucose and amino acid turnover in untreated gestational diabetes. Diabetes care, 19(6), 591-596.