“Residential greenness, gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) and microbiome diversity during pregnancy”

Ofir Avizemel*, Sigal Frishman, Yishay Pinto, Yaron Michael, Sondra Turjeman, Kinneret Tenenbaum-Gavish, Or Yariv, Yoav Peled, Eran Poran, Joseph Pardo, Rony Chen, Moshe Hod, Betty Schwartz, Eran Hadar, Omry Koren, Keren Agay-Shay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Background: Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is associated with reduced gut microbiota richness that was also reported to differ significantly between those living in rural compared to urban environments. Therefore, our aim was to examine the associations between greenness and maternal blood glucose levels and GDM, with microbiome diversity as a possible mediator in these associations. Methods: Pregnant women were recruited between January 2016 and October 2017. Residential greenness was evaluated as mean Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) within 100, 300 and 500 m buffers surrounding each maternal residential address. Maternal glucose levels were measured at 24–28 weeks of gestation and GDM was diagnosed. We estimated the associations between greenness and glucose levels and GDM using generalized linear models, adjusting for socioeconomic status and season at last menstrual period. Using causal mediation analysis, the mediation effects of four different indices of microbiome alpha diversity in first trimester stool and saliva samples were assessed. Results: Of 269 pregnant women, 27 participants (10.04%) were diagnosed with GDM. Although not statistically significant, adjusted exposure to medium tertile levels of mean NDVI at 300 m buffer had lower odds of GDM (OR = 0.45, 95% CI: 0.16, 1.26, p = 0.13) and decreased change in mean glucose levels (β = −6.28, 95% CI: 14.91, 2.24, p = 0.15) compared to the lowest tertile levels of mean NDVI. Mixed results were observed at 100 and 500 m buffers, and when comparing highest tertile levels to lowest. No mediation effect of first trimester microbiome on the association between residential greenness and GDM was observed, and a small, possibly incidental, mediation effect on glucose levels was observed. Conclusion: Our study suggests possible associations between residential greenness and glucose intolerance and risk of GDM, though without sufficient evidence. Microbiome in the first trimester, while involved in GDM etiology, is not a mediator in these associations. Future studies in larger populations should further examine these associations.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number114191
JournalInternational Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health
StatePublished - Jun 2023

Bibliographical note

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© 2023 Elsevier GmbH


  • Biodiversity
  • Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM)
  • Glucose level
  • Greenness
  • Microbiome
  • Normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI)


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