(HealthDay News) — Young people exposed to maternal diabetes during pregnancy have poorer glycemic control and β-cell function, particularly non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics, according to a study published online Nov. 17 in Diabetes Care.

Steven D. Chernausek, M.D., from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City, and colleagues examined the correlation between parental diabetes status and baseline demographics, anthropometrics, metabolic measurements, insulin sensitivity, and β-cell function in children diagnosed with type 2 diabetes participating in the TODAY clinical trial. Data were included from 632 young people (aged 10 to 17 years) diagnosed with type 2 diabetes for less than two years. Medical history data were obtained from self-report by parents and family members at baseline.

The researchers found that, compared to those who were not exposed, exposure to maternal diabetes during pregnancy correlated with diagnosis of diabetes at younger ages (by 0.6 years on average), increased dysglycemia at baseline (0.3 percent increase in glycated hemoglobin), and reduced β-cell function (C-peptide index, 0.063 versus 0.092). Maternal diabetes had an impact on β-cell function in non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics, but not in whites. Minimal relationships were seen for paternal diabetes status.

“More targeted research is needed to understand whether the impact of maternal diabetes is modified by racial/ethnic factors or whether the pathway to youth-onset type 2 diabetes differs by race/ ethnicity,” the authors write.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies; several pharmaceutical companies provided donations for the TODAY Study Group.

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