GC–MS based Gestational Diabetes Mellitus longitudinal study: Identification of 2-and 3-hydroxybutyrate as potential prognostic biomarkers

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Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) causes severe short- and long-term complications for the mother, fetus and neonate, including type 2-diabetes (T2DM) later in life.

In this pilot study, GC–Q/MS analysis was applied for plasma metabolomics fingerprinting of 24 healthy and 24 women with GDM at different stages of gestation (second and third trimester) and postpartum (one and three months). Multivariate (unsupervised and supervised) statistical analysis was performed to investigate variance in the data, identify outliers and for unbiased assessment of data quality.

Plasma fingerprints allowed for the discrimination of GDM pregnant women from controls both in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of gestation. However, metabolic profiles tended to be similar after delivery. Follow up of these women revealed that 4 of them developed T2DM within 2 years postpartum. Multivariate PLS-DA models limited to women with GDM showed clear separation 3 months postpartum. In the 2nd trimester of gestation there was also a clear separation between GDM women that were normoglycemic after pregnancy and those with recognized postpartum T2DM.

Metabolites that had the strongest discriminative power between these groups in the 2nd trimester of gestation were 2-hydroxybutyrate, 3-hydroxybutyrate, and stearic acid. We have described, that early GDM comprises metabotypes that are associated with the risk of future complications, including postpartum T2DM. In this pilot study, we provide evidence that 2-hydroxybutyrate and 3-hydroxybutyrate may be considered as future prognostic biomarkers to predict the onset of diabetic complications in women with gestational diabetes after delivery.

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