Over the last two decades, the incidence of gestational diabetes (GDM) has almost doubled resulting in almost 9% of pregnant women diagnosed with GDM. Occurring more frequently than GDM is impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), also known as pre-diabetes, but it has been understudied during pregnancy resulting in a lack of clinical recommendations of maternal and fetal surveillance. The purpose of this retrospective, cross-sectional study was to examine the association between microbial diversity and function of the maternal microbiome with IGT while adjusting for confounding variables. We hypothesized that reduced maternal microbial diversity and increased gene abundance for insulin resistance function will be associated with IGT as defined by a value greater than 140 mg/dL on the glucose challenge test. In the examination of microbial composition between women with IGT and those with normal glucose tolerance (NGT), we found five taxa which were significantly different. Taxa higher in participants with impaired glucose tolerance were Ruminococcacea (p = 0.01), Schaalia turicensis (p<0.05), Oscillibacter (p = 0.03), Oscillospiraceae (p = 0.02), and Methanobrevibacter smithii (p = 0.04). When we further compare participants who have IGT by their pre-gravid BMI, five taxa are significantly different between the BMI groups, Enterobacteriaceae, Dialister micraerophilus, Campylobacter ureolyticus, Proteobacteria, Streptococcus Unclassified (species). All four metrics including the Shannon (p<0.00), Simpson (p<0.00), Inverse Simpson (p = 0.04), and Chao1 (p = 0.04), showed a significant difference in alpha diversity with increased values in the impaired glucose tolerance group. Our study highlights the important gastrointestinal microbiome changes in women with IGT during pregnancy. Understanding the role of the microbiome in regulating glucose tolerance during pregnancy helps clinicians and researchers to understand the importance of IGT as a marker for adverse maternal and neonatal outcomes.
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