High normal 2-hour plasma glucose is associated with insulin sensitivity and secretion that may predispose to type 2 diabetes

M E Piché, S Lemieux, L Pérusse, S J Weisnagel
Diabetologia 2005, 48 (4): 732-40

AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: The aim of this study was to evaluate differences in insulin sensitivity, insulin secretion and risk factors for cardiovascular disease between subjects with a 2-h plasma glucose (2hPG) level within the normal range (NPG) and subjects with IGT, following a 75-g OGTT. We also aimed to determine the respective contributions made by 2hPG and fasting plasma glucose to the metabolic risk profile.

METHODS: We compared cardiovascular risk factors and insulin sensitivity and insulin secretion by using several indices calculated using measurements obtained during an OGTT. Subjects (n=643, age 18-71 years) were participants in the Quebec Family Study and were categorised according to 2hPG as having low NPG (2hPG <5.6 mmol/l, the group median for normal values), high NPG (2hPG 5.6-7.7 mmol/l) or IGT (2hPG 7.8-11.0 mmol/l). Subjects with type 2 diabetes were excluded from all analyses.

RESULTS: Beta cell function and insulin sensitivity progressively decreased with increasing 2hPG. Compared with subjects with low NPG, subjects with high NPG were more insulin-resistant (p<0.05) and had reduced insulin secretion (adjusted for insulin resistance) (p<0.001). They also had higher plasma triglyceride concentrations (p<0.01) and cholesterol:HDL cholesterol ratios (p<0.05). These differences remained even after adjustment for age, sex, BMI and waist circumference. Multivariate analyses showed that 2hPG was closely associated with risk factors for diabetes and with cardiovascular variables, including triglycerides (p<0.0001) and apolipoprotein B (p<0.01).

CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: These results show that deteriorations in glucose-insulin metabolism, which may predispose individuals to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, are already present in subjects with 2hPG concentrations within the high normal range. Independently of obesity, 2hPG was found to explain, in part, the variance observed in cardiovascular and diabetes risk factors. In addition, elevated 2hPG was associated with metabolic alterations that appear to be the most detrimental to metabolic health. Thus, 2hPG values within the high normal range may be an important marker for the identification of people at risk of complications related to type 2 diabetes.

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