DKK 11.8 million from the Strategic Research Council has been earmarked to study the development of type 2 diabetes in the children of women with gestation diabetes.
New research indicates that the children of women with gestation diabetes during their pregnancy have a much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Similarly, 50% of these women develop type 2 diabetes within 10 years of their pregnancy. The incidence of gestation diabetes therefore means there is a good possibility of preventing type 2 diabetes in the mother and child. However, there is only limited knowledge about what factors are significant for whether mother and/or child will develop type 2 diabetes and, in particular, there is a lack of knowledge about the mechanisms which mediate the higher risk of type 2 diabetes in children of mothers with gestation diabetes.
A research group headed by Prof. Allan Vaag, DMSc from the Department of Endocrinology at Rigshospitalet is behind the project. It is part of an international collaboration involving, amongst other things, a follow-up study of women with previous GDM in the Nurses Health Study (US), in which 2000 women and their 10-15 year-old children are to be studied using questionnaires, anthropometry, and collection of biological material to analyse disease markers as well as genetic and epigenetic DNA analyses. Sugar-tolerance tests will be conducted on the women and information will be gathered about diet and physical activity for women and children. The results will help establish a sustainable prevention strategy for type 2 diabetes in future generations. The research project is a collaboration between Rigshospitalet, the National Serum Institute, and Lund University Diabetes Center.