About the project

Omega 3 fatty acid supplementation in diabetic pregnancy

Implications for the genesis of diabetogenic factors in the offspring

In diabetic pregnancies, there is an increased risk of birth defects and we have discovered a membrane defect in diabetic pregnant women, the consequences of which are passed on to the fetus.

Our previous work on diabetes in pregnancy at St Thomas' Hospital funded by the Mother and Child Foundation and Diabetes UK has uncovered a disturbing metabolic deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids in blood cell membranes in the mother that also appears in the blood of the newborn child. We have evidence that this deficiency during fetal life retards brain development and harms the development of the arteries. Moreover, we have evidence that gives reason to believe this deficit is causative of prenatal programming of vascular disorder and neurological deficits in the fetus that will affect health in adult life. Therefore we consider it of vital importance to establish if supplementation can correct the deficits in the mother and therefore help protect both her and the fetus.

This trial has been carried out at London's Newham University Hospital in collaboration with Professor Ovrang Djahanbakhch, Mr Manickam Raveendran and research midwives Joanne Hutchinson and Irene Namuquer. The recruitment and follow-up of women was completed on 1 June 2012.

This work is funded by The Foyle Foundation, The Letten Foundation, Vifor Pharma, FP6 Marie Curie Actions-Transfer of Knowledge (MTKD-CT-2005-029914), Sir Halley Stewart Trust, Newham University Hospital NHS Trust and Diabetes Research Network (North East London Diabetes Local Research Network).

This trial is registered with Current Controlled Trials (registration number ISRCTN68997518). The DM and Omega 3-Study Protocol is also available to download.


Published papers

  • Min Y, Djahanbakhch O, Hutchinson J, Eram S, Bhullar AS, Namugere I, Ghebremeskel K. Efficacy of docosahexaenoic acid-enriched formula to enhance maternal and fetal blood docosahexaenoic acid levels: randomized double-blinded placebo-controlled trial of pregnant women with gestational diabetes mellitus. Clin Nutr 2016;35(3): 608-614
  • Min Y, Djahanbakhch O, Hutchinson J, Bhullar AS, Raveendran M, Hallot A, Eram S, Namugere I, Nateghian S, Ghebremeskel K. Effect of docosahexaenoic acid-enriched fish oil supplementation in pregnant women with Type 2 diabetes on membrane fatty acids and fetal body composition-double-blinded randomized placebo-controlled trial. Diabet Med. 2014; 31(11): 1331-1340
  • Min Y, Nam JH, Ghebremeskel K, Kim A, Crawford M. A distinctive fatty acid profile in circulating lipids of Korean gestational diabetics: A pilot study. Diab Res Clin Pract 2006; 73:178-183
  • Thomas B, Ghebremeskel K, Lowy C, Offley-Shore B, Crawford MA. Nutrient intake of women with and without gestational diabetes with a specific focus on fatty acids. Nutrition 2006; 22:230-236
  • Min Y, Lowy C, Ghebremeskel K, Thomas B, Offley-Shore B, Crawford M. Unfavourable effect of type 1 and type 2 diabetes on maternal and fetal essential fatty acid status: a potential marker of fetal insulin resistance. Am J Clin Nutr 2005; 82: 1162-1168
  • Thomas B, Ghebremeskel K, Lowy C, Min Y, Crawford MA. Plasma fatty acids of neonates born to mothers with and without gestational diabetes. Prostaglandins Leuko Essent Fatty Acids 2005; 72(5):335-341
  • Min Y, Lowy C, Ghebremeskel K, Thomas B, Bitsanis D, Crawford MA. Fetal erythrocyte membrane lipids modification: Preliminary observation of en early sign of compromised insulin sensitivity in the offspring of gestational diabetics. Diab Med 2005; 22:914-920
  • Ghebremeskel K, Thomas B, Lowy C, Min Y, Crawford MA. Type 1 diabetes compromises plasma arachidonic and docosahexaenoic acids in newborn babies. Lipids 2004; 39(4):335-342
  • Min Y, Ghebremeskel K, Lowy C, Thomas B, Crawford MA. Adverse effect of obesity on red cell membrane arachidonic and docosahexaenoic acids in gestational diabetes. Diabetologia 2004; 47(1): 75-81
  • Thomas B, Ghebremeskel K, Lowy C, Min Y, Crawford MA. Plasma AA and DHA levels are not compromised in newly diagnosed gestational diabetic women. Eur J Clin Nutr 2004; 58:1492-1497
  • Ghebremeskel K, Bitsanis D, Koukkou E, Lowy C, Poston L and Crawford M. Liver triacylglycerols and free fatty acids in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats have atypical n-6 and n-3 pattern. Comp Biochem Physiol C Toxicol Pharmacol 2002; 132(3):349-354
  • Ghosh P, Bitsanis D, Ghebremeskel K, Crawford MA and Poston L. Abnormal aortic fatty acid composition and small artery function in offspring of rats fed a high fat diet in pregnancy. J Physiol 2001; 533.3:815-822
  • Ghebremeskel K, Bitsanis D, Koukkou E, Lowy C, Poston L and Crawford MA. Post natal modulation of heart and liver phosphoglyceride fatty acids in pups. Ann Nutr Metab 1999; 43: 365-373
  • Ghebremeskel K, Bitsanis D, Koukkou E, Lowy C, Poston L and Crawford MA. Maternal diet high in fat reduces docosahexaenoic acid in liver lipids of newborn and sucking rat pups. Br J Nutr 1999; 81: 395-404
  • Crawford MA, Lowy C, Koukkou E, Poston L, Ghebremeskel K. Sex ratio of offspring of diabetics. Lancet 1998; 351(9114):1515-1516
  • Ghebremeskel K, Thomas B, Min Y, Stacey F, Koukkou E, Lowy C, Erskine K, Crawford M and Offley-Shore B. Fatty acids in pregnant diabetic women and neonates: Implications for growth and development. In: Essential Fatty Acids and Eicosanoids, Invited Papers from the Fourth International Congress. Riemersma RA et al. (eds), Champaign, Illinois, 1998, p104-107

Abstracts

  • Min Y, Bhullar A, Hutchinson J, Namugere I, Djahanbakhch O, Ghebremeskel K Platelet fatty acid composition of pregnant women with type 2 diabetes in early gestation.  International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL), 5 - 9 September 2016, Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • Cabello-Moruno R, Min Y, Hallot A, Hutchinson J, Mariniello K, Djahanbakhch O, Ghebremeskel K. Erythrocyte membrane phospholipid molecular species in pregnant women with gestational and type 2 diabetes. International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL), 29 May - 2 June 2010, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  • Min Y, Lowy C, Geppert J, Islam S, Tait S, Alexandre V, Khan FS, Swaminathan R, Ghebremeskel K (2008). Membrane fatty acids and adipocytokine of individuals with varying degrees of insulin sensitivity. Eighth Biennial International Scientific Meeting of ISSFAL, Kansas City, Missouri, USA
  • Lowy C, Min Y (2008). Maternal nutrition, obesity, diabetes and adverse pregnancy outcome. International Conference on the Economic Importance of Fisheries and their Impact on Public Health. Muscat, Sultanate of Oman.
  • Khan FS, Islam S, Min Y, Swaminathan R, Tait S, Lowy C (2006) Relationship between insulin resistance and adipokines with body composition and glucose tolerance. 197th Meeting of the Society for Endocrinology, Endocrine Abstracts 12, page 38
  • Aurora R, Gothard P, Thomas B, Lowy C, Min Y, Ghebremeskel K (2005). High dose of MaxEPA treatment reduces fat mass of diet-treated type 2 diabetic patients. 23rd International Symposium on Diabetes and Nutrition Diabetes and Nutrition Study Group of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, Ebeltoft, Denmark
  • Min Y, Lowy C, Thomas B, Ghebremeskel K (2004). Altered long-chain n-3 and n-6 fatty acids in cord plasma and red cell phospholipids born to Type 1 and Type 2 diabetic women. 35th Annual Meeting of Diabetic Pregnancy Study Group, Luso Village, Portugal
  • Min Y, Ghebremeskel K, Nam JH, Kim A, Crawford MA (2004). Membrane lipid imbalance in lean women with gestational diabetes from South Korea. Sixth Congress of the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids, Brighton, UK
  • Min Y, Lowy C, Ghebremeskel K, Crawford MA, Thomas B, Offley-Shore B (2003). Red cell choline phosphoglycerides fatty acid profiles in mothers and their newborns in control and gestational diabetes. Science and Medicine Conference, Medical Research Society, London, UK
  • Min Y, Lowy C, Thomas B, Ghebremeskel K, Crawford MA, Offley-Shore B (2002). Changes in red cell choline phosphoglyceride fatty acid in control and diabetic pregnancies. pp924, 38th Annual Meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, Budapest, Hungary
  • Min Y, Lowy C, Thomas B, Ghebremeskel K, Crawford MA, Offley-Shore B (2002). Red cell choline phosphoglycerides fatty acid profiles in mothers and their newborns in control and gestational diabetes. OP-12, 34th Annual Meeting of the Diabetic Pregnancy Study Group of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, Lake Balaton, Hungary
  • Min Y, Thomas B, Ghebremeskel K, Crawford MA, Offley-Shore B, Lowy C (2000). Do gestational diabetics have abnormal membrane fatty acid composition?, p87, 4th International Congress for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids, Tsukuba, Japan
  • Min Y, Thomas B, Ghebremsekel K, Offley-Shore B, Lowy C, Crawford MA (1999). Pregestational diabetes reduces maternal red cell membrane docosahexaenoic acid in mother. A248-935, 35th European Association for the Study of Diabetes, Brussels, Belgium