Women with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) are at greater risk of metabolic syndrome (MetS). We studied the association between second-trimester retinal microvasculature and 5-year MetS incidence in womenwith GDM.
A total of 142 mothers with GDM were recruited and followed up 5 years after delivery. Retinal photography was performed at 26-28 weeks gestation and metabolic outcomes were assessed at the 5-year postpartum follow-up visit. GDM and MetS were defined based on World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines and Adults Treatment Panel (ATP) III guidelines, respectively. Modified-Poisson regression was applied to study the association between second-trimester retinal microvasculature and incident 5-year maternal MetS, after adjusting for major confounders. Area under the curve (AUC) was calculated based on the final model.
Our prospective cohort reported a 9.2% incidence rate of 5-year MetS among women with GDM. After adjusting for maternal age, ethnicity, college degree, pre-pregnancy BMI and fasting glucose at 26-28 week gestation, each 10 μm widening in retinal venular caliber was associated with an increased relative risk of 1.6 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.0, 2.8) in incident MetS. In addition to traditional risks of pre-pregnancy BMI and fasting glucose level at 26-28 week gestation, retinal venular caliber mildly increased the prediction of 5-year maternal MetS by 1.8%.
Second-trimester retinal venular widening was associated with incident 5-year maternal MetS in women with GDM. Our study suggests that mother with GDM at risk of future MetS development may have already presented retinal microvascular abnormalities during pregnancy.