Vol 65, No 2 (2014)
Review paper
Published online: 2014-05-06

open access

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The relationship between adipose tissue-derived hormones and gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM)

Marzena Wójcik, Małgorzata Chmielewska-Kassassir, Karolina Grzywnowicz, Lucyna Woźniak, Katarzyna Cypryk
DOI: 10.5603/EP.2014.0019
Endokrynol Pol 2014;65(2):134-142.


Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is defined as a glucose intolerance of varying severity with onset or first recognition during pregnancy. The prevalence of GDM is growing rapidly worldwide, resulting in numerous and serious complications for both mother and foetus. Two major metabolic disorders, insulin resistance and β cells dysfunction, are currently linked to the pathogenesis of GDM, although the cellular mechanisms involved in the development of GDM are not yet completely understood. Increasing evidence from clinical and experimental studies indicates that adipose tissue dysfunction, characterised by abnormal production of adipokines, is an essential factor linked to insulin resistance and GDM. To date, several adipose tissue-derived hormones have been identified, including leptin, adiponectin, resistin, visfatin, apelin, retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP-4), vaspin, and omentin. The relationship of leptin and adiponectin to insulin resistance in GDM is relatively well documented, but the molecular mechanisms by which these hormones affect insulin resistance are not yet fully known. The other aforementioned adipokines appear to be also important players in the pathophysiology of GDM, although their precise function in this complex process remains to be established. The aim of this article is to review the literature concerning the relationship between the above-mentioned adipokines and GDM, and to clarify their role in the pathophysiology of GDM. (Endokrynol Pol 2014; 65 (2): 134–142)