Gestational Diabetes Mellitus: A Harbinger of the Vicious Cycle of Diabetes

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Article, Peer-reviewed

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Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), characterized by a transitory form of diabetes induced by insulin resistance and pancreatic β-cell dysfunction during pregnancy, has been identified as one of the major obstacles in achieving improved maternal and child health. Approximately 9-25% of pregnancies worldwide are impacted by the acute, long-term, and transgenerational health complications of this disease. Here, we discuss how GDM affects longstanding maternal and neonatal outcomes, as well as health risks that likely persist into future generations. In addition to the current challenges in the management and diagnosis of and the complications associated with GDM, we discuss current preclinical models of GDM to better understand the underlying pathophysiology of the disease and the timely need to increase our scientific toolbox to identify strategies to prevent and treat GDM, thereby advancing clinical care.

Keywords: diabetes animal models; fetal programming; gestational diabetes mellitus and diabetes; glycemic control; hyperglycemia; insulin; obesity; placenta; polycystic ovary syndrome; pregnancy complications; type 2 diabetes.