HOMA insulin sensitivity index and the risk of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular disease events in the general population: the Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle Study (AusDiab) study

E L M Barr, A J Cameron, B Balkau, P Z Zimmet, T A Welborn, A M Tonkin, J E Shaw
Diabetologia 2010, 53 (1): 79-88

AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: We assessed whether the relationships between insulin sensitivity and all-cause mortality as well as fatal or non-fatal cardiovascular disease (CVD) events are independent of elevated blood glucose, high blood pressure, dyslipidaemia and body composition in individuals without diagnosed diabetes.

METHODS: Between 1999 and 2000, baseline fasting insulin, glucose and lipids, 2 h plasma glucose, HbA(1c), anthropometrics, blood pressure, medication use, smoking and history of CVD were collected from 8,533 adults aged >35 years from the population-based Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle study. Insulin sensitivity was estimated by HOMA of insulin sensitivity (HOMA-%S). Deaths and fatal or non-fatal CVD events were ascertained through linkage to the National Death Index and medical records adjudication.

RESULTS: After a median of 5.0 years there were 277 deaths and 225 CVD events. HOMA-%S was not associated with all-cause mortality. Compared with the most insulin-sensitive quintile, the combined fatal or non-fatal CVD HR (95% CI) for quintiles of decreasing HOMA-%S were 1.1 (0.6-1.9), 1.4 (0.9-2.3), 1.6 (1.0-2.5) and 2.0 (1.3-3.1), adjusting for age and sex. Smoking, CVD history, hypertension, lipid-lowering medication, total cholesterol and waist-to-hip ratio moderately attenuated this relationship. However, the association was rendered non-significant by adding HDL. Fasting plasma glucose, but not HOMA-%S significantly improved the prediction of CVD, beyond that seen with other risk factors.

CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: In this cohort, HOMA-%S showed no association with all-cause mortality and only a modest association with CVD events, largely explained by its association with HDL. Fasting plasma glucose was a better predictor of CVD than HOMA-%S.

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