Normal pregnancy induced glucose metabolic stress in a longitudinal cohort of healthy women: Novel insights generated from a urine metabolomics study

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Abstract

During normal pregnancy, mothers face a unique physiological challenge in the adaptation of glucose metabolism in preparation for the metabolic stress presented by fetal development. However, the responsible mechanism remains elusive. The purpose of this study is to investigate the mechanism of the metabolic stress of glucose metabolism in pregnant women using metabolomics method.

A Ultra Performance Liquid Chromatography Quadrupole Time-of-Flight Mass Spectrometer-based untargeted metabolomics study was performed to investigate the dynamic urinary signature of the intermediates of glucose metabolism in a longitudinal cohort of 232 healthy pregnant women in their first, second, and third trimesters.

Twelve glucose metabolic intermediates were screened out from hundreds of candidate metabolites using partial least squares discriminant analysis models. These 12 markers were mainly involved in the metabolic pathways of insulin resistance, glycolysis/gluconeogenesis, tricarboxylic acid cycle, nonabsorbable carbohydrate metabolism, and N-glycan biosynthesis. In particular, L-acetylcarnitine, a metabolite that is beneficial for the amelioration of insulin resistance, decreased in a time-dependent manner during normal pregnancy. Moreover, thiamine pyrophosphate, an intermediate product of glycolysis/gluconeogenesis, significantly increased in the second trimester, and argininosuccinic acid and oxalosuccinic acid, intermediates involved in the tricarboxylic acid cycle, significantly decreased in the third trimester, suggesting an increased glucose demand in the maternal body during fetal development.

These findings provide novel insight into the normal pregnancy-induced elevation of insulin resistance and glycolysis/gluconeogenesis, as well as the observed reduction in the aerobic oxidation of glucose.

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