Mild gestational diabetes significantly raises the risk of cryptorchidism in male offspring, reported Dr. Helena E. Virtanen of the University of Turku, Finland, and her associates.
Even mothers who had an abnormal result on a single oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) but no diabetes diagnosis were at increased risk of delivering a boy with cryptorchidism, the researchers reported (J. Clin. Endocrin. Metab. 2006 Oct. 10 [Epub doi:10.1210/jc.2006–1420]).
They reviewed the pregnancy records of 1,288 singleton boys born at one hospital who had participated in previous research. The 125 boys with congenital cryptorchidism served as cases in this study, and the 1,163 boys who had normal testicular descent at birth served as controls.
Among the cases, 13 mothers (10%) had diet-treated gestational diabetes, and an additional 7 (6%) had at least one abnormal result on OGTT but no diabetes diagnosis, for an overall 16%. In contrast, among the controls, only 47 mothers (4%) had a diabetes diagnosis and an additional 54 (5%) had an abnormal OGTT result, for an overall 9%.
The significantly elevated risk for cryptorchidism remained constant after the data were adjusted for known confounders such as advanced maternal age and maternal smoking, as well as for proposed risk factors that might confound the association, such as prematurity and low birth weight.
Maternal diabetes status had no apparent effect on the rate of spontaneous testicular descent by the age of 3 months or on the rate of bilateral vs. unilateral cryptorchidism. “Considering our results, the increasing prevalence of gestational diabetes may have considerable effect on [future] male reproductive health,” Dr. Virtanen and her associates noted.