First-Trimester Serum Fatty Acid-Binding Protein 4 and Subsequent Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

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To examine whether plasma fatty acid-binding protein 4 concentrations, measured in the first trimester, are associated with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM).


This prospective, multicenter cohort study was conducted at three maternity centers in two cities (Harbin and Beijing) in China from July 2015 to June 2016. Data for fasting plasma glucose and fatty acid-binding protein 4 concentrations in the first trimester and one-step GDM screening with a 75-g oral glucose tolerance test performed between 24 and 28 weeks of gestation were collected and analyzed.


Plasma from women in the first trimester was available for 1,150 women, of whom 135 (11.7%) developed GDM. The GDM distribution across the fatty acid-binding protein 4 quartiles ranged from 3.8% (first quartile) to 21.6% (fourth quartile). In multivariate models comparing the second (quartile 2), third, and fourth quartiles against the first quartile of fatty acid-binding protein 4, concentrations of fatty acid-binding protein 4 in quartile 2, quartile 3, and quartile 4 were associated with the development of GDM with respective associated adjusted odds ratios (95% CIs) of 1.76 (1.21–2.58), 2.36 (1.55–4.29), and 3.57 (1.99–6.11). A significant difference in the area under receiver operating characteristic curve between established risk factors alone and the addition of fatty acid-binding protein 4 concentrations was observed (difference 0.042 [95% CI 0.028–0.055]; P=.03).


Higher fatty acid-binding protein 4 concentrations in the first trimester visit were associated with increased risk of GDM and might be useful in identifying women at risk for GDM for early prevention strategies.

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