International journal of endocrinology

Gestational diabetes and thyroid autoimmunity.

PMID 22654905


Background. About 10% of pregnancies are complicated by previously unknown impairment of glucose metabolism, which is defined as gestational diabetes. There are little data available on prevalence of thyroid disorders in patients affected by gestational diabetes, and about their postgestational thyroid function and autoimmunity. We therefore investigated pancreatic and thyroid autoimmunity in gestational diabetic patients and in women who had had a previous gestational diabetic pregnancy. Methods. We investigated 126 pregnant women at the time of a 100-g oral glucose tolerance test: 91 were classified as gestational diabetics, and 35 were negative (controls). We also studied 69 women who had delivered a baby 18-120 months prior to this investigation and who were classified at that time gestational diabetics (38 women) or normally pregnant (31 women; controls). Results. Our data show no differences for both thyroid function and prevalence of autoimmune disorders during pregnancy; however, a significant increase in thyroid autoimmunity was seen in women previously affected by gestational diabetes. This increased prevalence of thyroid autoimmunity was not associated with the development of impaired glucose metabolism after pregnancy. Conclusions. Our data suggest that maternal hyperglycemia is a risk factor for the development of thyroid autoimmunity, a conclusion that should now be confirmed in a larger cohort of patients.