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Medical Researchers Uncover Link For Gestational Diabetes

A medical research team has verified genes that can be the cause of diabetes during pregnancy.

Women who have problems with the genes CDKAL1, CDKN2A-2B, HHEX, IGF2BP2, SLC30A8, TCF7L2 are at a 130 to 150 percent greater risk, according to professors Park Kyong-soo, Cho Young-min and Jang Hak-cheol of the Seoul National University Hospital.

They said those with the genes showed a significant malfunction in secreting insulin from the beta cells in the pancreas.

Diabetes during pregnancy is considered one of the worst diseases expectant mothers can experience. The condition can cause early labor, birth defects, large babies and complications during delivery, according to the experts.

About 3 percent of pregnant women here are reported to suffer from the disease. In most cases, the symptoms disappear naturally after birth, but about half suffer a recurrence during their next pregnancy. In some cases, the problem has developed into type 2 diabetes within five years.

The researchers said their discovery would enable doctors to detect women who may suffer from the disease and take action before pregnancy.

Jang said the research is significant because it showed a relationship between type 2 diabetes and the disease during pregnancy.

“It shows that the two have the same roots. I think it is a big step toward identifying the mechanism of diabetes itself,” Park said.

DIABETOLOGY, Feb. 2009