BACKGROUND: First-degree relatives of type 2 diabetes patients are at risk of developing diabetes and they display several metabolic and hormonal perturbations. The interplay between insulin resistance, steroid hormones and circulating leptin is, however, still not fully explored in this group.
DESIGN: Thirty-three healthy first-degree relatives of type 2 diabetic patients (relatives; M/F 19/14) were compared to 33 healthy subjects without a family history of diabetes (controls) and the groups were matched for gender, age and body mass index (BMI). We performed euglycaemic hyperinsulinaemic clamps and blood was sampled for hormone analyses.
RESULTS: Relatives exhibited decreased insulin sensitivity (index of metabolic clearance rate of glucose; MCRI) but when genders were analysed separately, this difference was significant only in males (11.3 +/- 1.3 vs. 15.0 +/- 1.5 units, means +/- SEM, P = 0.030). In male relatives morning cortisol and testosterone levels were lower, whereas leptin was higher than in male controls (P = 0.018, 0.008 and 0.063, respectively). In male relatives plasma testosterone levels were significantly associated with insulin sensitivity (r = 0.48, P = 0.040). Circulating leptin levels were inversely correlated with insulin sensitivity in all subject groups (r-values -0.49 to -0.66; P < 0.05, except in female control subjects P = 0.063). These associations were present also when age and BMI or waist:hip ratio were included in stepwise multiple regression analyses.
CONCLUSION: Male subjects genetically predisposed for type 2 diabetes display several endocrine abnormalities including leptin, cortisol and testosterone levels. Dysregulation of these hormones may be important in the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
2002. Vol. 32, no 3, 172-8 p.