EMAIL THIS PAGE TO A FRIEND

PloS one

Serum activin A and follistatin levels in gestational diabetes and the association of the Activin A-Follistatin system with anthropometric parameters in offspring.


PMID 24763182

Abstract

The Activin A-Follistatin system has emerged as an important regulator of lipid and glucose metabolism with possible repercussions on fetal growth. To analyze circulating activin A, follistatin and follistatin-like-3 (FSTL3) levels and their relationship with glucose metabolism in pregnant women and their influence on fetal growth and neonatal adiposity. A prospective cohort was studied comprising 207 pregnant women, 129 with normal glucose tolerance (NGT) and 78 with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and their offspring. Activin A, follistatin and FSTL3 levels were measured in maternal serum collected in the early third trimester of pregnancy. Serial fetal ultrasounds were performed during the third trimester to evaluate fetal growth. Neonatal anthropometry was measured to assess neonatal adiposity. Serum follistatin levels were significantly lower in GDM than in NGT pregnant women (8.21±2.32 ng/mL vs 9.22±3.41, P = 0.012) whereas serum FSTL3 and activin A levels were comparable between the two groups. Serum follistatin concentrations were negatively correlated with HOMA-IR and positively with ultrasound growth parameters such as fractional thigh volume estimation in the middle of the third trimester and percent fat mass at birth. Also, in the stepwise multiple linear regression analysis serum follistatin levels were negatively associated with HOMA-IR (β = -0.199, P = 0.008) and the diagnosis of gestational diabetes (β = -0.138, P = 0.049). Likewise, fractional thigh volume estimation in the middle of third trimester and percent fat mass at birth were positively determined by serum follistatin levels (β = 0.214, P = 0.005 and β = 0.231, P = 0.002, respectively). Circulating follistatin levels are reduced in GDM compared with NGT pregnant women and they are positively associated with fetal growth and neonatal adiposity. These data suggest a role of the Activin-Follistatin system in maternal and fetal metabolism during pregnancy.