Nat Med. 2024 Apr 16. doi: 10.1038/s41591-024-02936-5. Online ahead of print.


Reduced insulin sensitivity (insulin resistance) is a hallmark of normal physiology in late pregnancy and also underlies gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM). We conducted transcriptomic profiling of 434 human placentas and identified a positive association between insulin-like growth factor binding protein 1 gene (IGFBP1) expression in the placenta and insulin sensitivity at ~26 weeks gestation. Circulating IGFBP1 protein levels rose over the course of pregnancy and declined postpartum, which, together with high gene expression levels in our placenta samples, suggests a placental or decidual source. Higher circulating IGFBP1 levels were associated with greater insulin sensitivity (lesser insulin resistance) at ~26 weeks gestation in the same cohort and in two additional pregnancy cohorts. In addition, low circulating IGFBP1 levels in early pregnancy predicted subsequent GDM diagnosis in two cohorts of pregnant women. These results implicate IGFBP1 in the glycemic physiology of pregnancy and suggest a role for placental IGFBP1 deficiency in GDM pathogenesis.

PMID:38627562 | DOI:10.1038/s41591-024-02936-5