Human adipose tissue and metabolic disease - focus on pregnancy and women with previous gestational diabetes mellitus

Research project

Short description

The risk of gestational diabetes mellitus, a type of diabetes that develops during pregnancy, is higher among women who are overweight or obese compared with normal-weight women. The recent global increase in obesity prevalence is reflected in a rise in the prevalence of gestational diabetes. Gestational diabetes typically goes away after the baby is born. However, women who have had gestational diabetes have a markedly increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Malin Lönn's research group looks for factors in the adipose tissue that either control/participate in the development of these diseases or act protective. Our goal is to be able to identify women at risk and to prevent diabetes.

We have previously made observations of an increased adipocyte number, up to a doubling, in some women during pregnancy. Recruitment of new fat cells during pregnancy may be a beneficial mechanism, protecting from severe insulin resistance and gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), but it may also influence future body weight and metabolic status.

In collaboration with the PONCH (Pregnancy Obesity Nutrition Child Health) group, Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Sahlgrenska Academy, we focus on 1) normal-weight and obese pregnant women, longitudinally examined in trimester one and three, 2) women diagnosed with GDM, examined at the time of diagnosis, and 3) women with previous GDM, examined longitudinally at follow-up, five and 10 years after GDM diagnosis. Examinations include collection of abdominal adipose tissue biopsies. RNA-Seq data is obtained for the biopsies and combined with extensive phenotypic characterization of the women.

Group members

Malin Lönn, group leader

Henrik Svensson

Daniel Olausson

Staffan Edén