The Temporal Profile of Circulating miRNAs during Gestation in Overweight and Obese Women with or without Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

Anja Elaine Sørensen*, Mireille N.M. van Poppel, Gernot Desoye, David Simmons, Peter Damm, Dorte Møller Jensen, Louise Torp Dalgaard, The Dali Core Investigator Group

*Corresponding author for this work

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Circulating non-coding microRNAs (miRNAs) are important for placentation, but their expression profiles across gestation in pregnancies, which are complicated by gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), have not been fully established. Investigating a single time point is insufficient, as pregnancy is dynamic, involving several processes, including placenta development, trophoblast proliferation and differentiation and oxygen sensing. Thus, the aim of this study was to compare the temporal expression of serum miRNAs in pregnant women with and without GDM. This is a nested case-control study of longitudinal data obtained from a multicentric European study (the ‘DALI’ study). All women (n = 82) were overweight/obese (BMI ≥ 29 kg/m2 ) and were normal glucose tolerant (NGT) at baseline (before 20 weeks of gestation). We selected women (n = 41) who were diagnosed with GDM at 24–28 weeks, according to the IADPSG/WHO2013 criteria. They were matched with 41 women who remained NGT in their pregnancy. miRNA (miR-16-5p,-29a-3p,-103-3p,-134-5p,-122-5p,-223-3p,-330-3p and miR-433-3p) were selected based on their suggested importance for placentation, and measurements were performed at baseline and at 24–28 and 35–37 weeks of gestation. Women with GDM presented with overall miRNA levels above those observed for women remaining NGT. In both groups, levels of miR-29a-3p and miR-134-5p increased consistently with progressing gestation. The change over time only differed for miR-29a-3p when comparing women with GDM with those remaining NGT (p = 0.044). Our findings indicate that among overweight/obese women who later develop GDM, miRNA levels are already elevated early in pregnancy and remain above those of women who remain NGT during their pregnancy. Maternal circulating miRNAs may provide further insight into placentation and the cross talk between the maternal and fetal compartments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number482
Issue number2
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

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© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Circulating biomarkers
  • Gestational diabetes mellitus
  • MicroRNA
  • MiR-29a-3p
  • Serum
  • Temporal expression profile


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