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Heterogeneity in Early Postpartum Metabolic Profiles Among Women with GDM Who Progressed to Type 2 Diabetes During 10-Year Follow-Up: The SWIFT Study

GDM is a strong risk factor for progression to T2D after pregnancy. Although both GDM and T2D exhibit heterogeneity, the link between the distinct heterogeneity of GDM and incident T2D has not been established. Herein, we evaluate early postpartum profiles of women with recent GDM who later developed incident T2D using a soft clustering method, followed by the integration of both clinical phenotypic variables and metabolomics to characterize these heterogeneous clusters/groups clinically and their molecular mechanisms. We identified three clusters based on two indices of glucose homeostasis at 6-9 weeks postpartum – HOMA-IR and HOMA-B among women who developed incident T2D during the 12-year follow-up. The clusters were classified as follows: pancreatic beta-cell dysfunction group (cluster-1), insulin resistant group (cluster-3), and a combination of both phenomena (cluster-2) comprising the majority of T2D. We also identified postnatal blood test parameters to distinguish the three clusters for clinical testing. Moreover, we compared these three clusters in their metabolomics profiles at the early stage of the disease to identify the mechanistic insights. A significantly higher concentration of a metabolite at the early stage of a T2D cluster than other clusters indicates its essentiality for the particular disease character. As such, the early-stage characters of T2D cluster-1 pathology include a higher concentration of sphingolipids, acyl-alkyl phosphatidylcholines, lysophosphatidylcholines, and glycine, indicating their essentiality for pancreatic beta-cell function. In contrast, the early-stage characteristics of T2D cluster-3 pathology include a higher concentration of diacyl phosphatidylcholines, acyl-carnitines, isoleucine, and glutamate, indicating their essentiality for insulin actions. Notably, all these biomolecules are found in the T2D cluster-2 with mediocre concentrations, indicating a true nature of a mixed group. In conclusion, we have deconstructed incident T2D heterogeneity and identified three clusters with their clinical testing procedures and molecular mechanisms. This information will aid in adopting proper interventions using a precision medicine approach.

Authors: Khan, Saifur R;Rost, Hannes;Cox, Brian;Razani, Babak;Alexeeff, Stacey;Wheeler, Michael B;Gunderson, Erica P

medRxiv. 2023 Jun 16.

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