Folia Parasitologica, vol. 62 (2015)

Folia Parasitologica 62:056 (2015) | DOI: 10.14411/fp.2015.056

An elevated blood glucose level and increased incidence of gestational diabetes mellitus in pregnant women with latent toxoplasmosis

©árka Kaňková1, Jaroslav Flegr1, Pavel Calda2
1 Department of Philosophy and History of Science, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic;
2 Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, General University Hospital and First Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic

About 30-50% of the world human population are infected with the protozoan parasite Toxoplasma gondii (Nicolle et Manceaux, 1908). Latent toxoplasmosis has many specific behavioural and physiological effects on the human body and influences the course of pregnancy, including secondary sex ratio of children of infected mothers. It was suggested that an increased concentration of glucose could be the proximate cause of increased sex ratio. There are some indirect indications of possible association between toxoplasmosis and certain forms of diabetes. Here we searched for a possible link between latent toxoplasmosis and the level of glucose in the blood. In a cross-sectional study, we found that pregnant women with latent toxoplasmosis had significantly higher blood glucose levels during the oral glucose tolerance test (n = 191, p = 0.010; the level of fasting plasma glucose: mean = 5.04 mmol/l vs mean = 4.88 mmol/l; blood glucose level at 1 hour mean = 7.73 mmol/l vs mean = 6.89 mmol/l and blood glucose level at two hours mean = 6.43 mmol/l vs mean = 5.74 mmol/l) and higher prevalence (19.5 %) of gestational diabetes mellitus (n = 532, p = 0.033, odds ratio = 1.78) in the 24-28th gestational weeks than T. gondii-free women (12.0 %). Increased level of glucose and increased incidence of gestational diabetes mellitus could have considerable clinical impact as contributors to the development of the metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes in T. gondii-infected women. Our results also brought the first empirical support for the hypothesis that the glucose concentration may play a role in T. gondii-associated offspring sex ratio shifts.

Received: June 26, 2015; Accepted: August 3, 2015; Published online: September 21, 2015


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