Differential Associations of Inflammatory Markers With Insulin Sensitivity and Secretion: The Prospective METSIM Study

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Low-grade inflammation is involved in the development of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD); however, prospective studies evaluating inflammatory markers as predictors of changes in insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity are lacking.


We investigated the associations of glycoprotein acetyls (GlycA), interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RA), and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) with insulin secretion, insulin sensitivity, incident type 2 diabetes, hypertension, CVD events, and total mortality in the prospective Metabolic Syndrome in Men (METSIM) study.


A prospective study.


The cross-sectional METSIM study included 8749 nondiabetic Finnish men aged 45 to 73 years, who had been randomly selected from the population register of Kuopio, Finland. A total of 5401 men participated in the 6.8-year follow-up study.

Main Outcome Measures:

Changes in insulin secretion, insulin sensitivity, and cardiometabolic traits during the follow-up period and the incidence of type 2 diabetes, hypertension, CVD events, and total mortality.


During the follow-up period, GlycA was associated with impaired insulin secretion, hyperglycemia, incident type 2 diabetes (hazard ratio, 1.37; 95% confidence interval, 1.29 to 1.46) and CVD (hazard ratio, 1.21; 95% confidence interval, 1.12 to 1.32). IL-1RA and hs-CRP were associated with adverse changes in insulin sensitivity and obesity-related traits and with total mortality (hazard ratio, 1.13; 95% confidence interval, 1.07 to 1.20; and hazard ratio, 1.08; 95% confidence interval, 1.04 to 1.11, respectively).


Inflammatory markers differentially predicted changes in insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity. GlycA predicted impaired insulin secretion, and IL-1RA and hs-CRP predicted changes in insulin sensitivity. Combining the three markers improved the prediction of disease outcomes, suggesting that they capture different aspects of low-grade inflammation.

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