Early pregnancy vitamin d binding protein is independently associated with the development of gestational diabetes: A retrospective cohort study

Melinda Fernando, Stacey J. Ellery, Deborah De Guingand, Clara Marquina, Siew S. Lim, Cheryce L. Harrison, Helena J Teede, Negar Naderpoor, Aya Mousa

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Background: Vitamin D-binding protein (VDBP) has been implicated in several adverse pregnancy outcomes either directly or indirectly via influencing the concentrations of biologically active vitamin D metabolites. However, human studies exploring these metabolites in pregnancy remain sparse. Here, we examine whether VDBP and total, free, and bioavailable 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) metabolites in early pregnancy are associated with subsequent adverse pregnancy outcomes. Methods: We conducted a retrospective analysis of 304 pregnant women in early pregnancy (<20 weeks gestation). The demographic characteristics, anthropometric data, and total 25(OH)D were measured and plasma or serum samples were collected and bio-banked. Using these samples, we measured VDBP (polyclonal ELISA) and albumin (automated colorimetry), and calculated free and bioavailable 25(OH)D using validated formulae. Pregnancy outcomes were derived from scanned medical records. Regression models were used to analyse the relationships between vitamin D metabolites in early pregnancy and subsequent pregnancy outcomes (gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), pre-eclampsia, preterm birth), with adjustment for predetermined clinically relevant maternal factors including age, body mass index (BMI), and ethnicity. Results: Lower VDBP concentrations were associated with higher glucose levels and a greater likelihood of developing GDM at 26–28 weeks gestation (odds ratio [OR] (95% CI) = 0.98 (0.97,0.99), p = 0.015). This finding remained significant after adjustment for maternal covariates including age, BMI, and ethnicity (β = −0.003, p = 0.03). Lower total, free and bioavailable 25(OH)D, but not VDBP, were associated with a shorter length of gestation, but only the relationship with total 25(OH)D remained significant after adjustment for the above maternal covariates (β = 0.02, p = 0.006). Conclusions: This is the first study to examine VDBP, and total, free and bioavailable 25(OH)D in relation to pregnancy outcomes in a well characterised multi-ethnic cohort of pregnant women. Our findings show that VDBP and total 25(OH)D are associated with GDM and length of gestation, respectively; however, further investigations using large-scale prospective studies are needed to confirm our findings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2186
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020


  • Bioavailable vitamin D
  • Free vitamin D
  • Gestational diabetes mellitus
  • Glucose tolerance
  • Pregnancy
  • Vitamin D binding protein

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