Researchers from the Department of Internal Medicine at Keio University in Tokyo recently published a study in the Journal of Endocrinology regarding a possible cause or contributing factor in gestational diabetes. The aim of the study was to discover underlying factors commonly found in women diagnosed with the condition.

A review of 62 pregnant women receiving oral solution equivalent to 75 g of glucose was completed. The test, known as the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) was administered twice during the pregnancy. The test resulted in no significant concern during the early stages of pregnancy, but the latter test results changed. Fifteen of the 62 women failed the second test. When beta cell function was tested, women who failed the second test showed significantly lower beta cell response and decreased function in the latter stages of pregnancy in both groups, but the indices were lower in the group diagnosed with gestational diabetes than the group that tested within a normal glucose tolerance range.

Conclusion: Beta cells may play a contributing factor in the development of gestational diabetes.

Source: Saisho Y, Miyakoshi K, Ikenoue S, Kasuga Y, Matsumoto T, Minegishi K, Yoshimura Y, Itoh H. Marked decline in beta cell function during pregnancy leads to the development of glucose intolerance in Japanese women. Endocr J. 2012 Dec 28.