Insulin-mediated glucose disposal varies severalfold in apparently healthy individuals, and approximately one-third of the most insulin resistant of these individuals is at increased risk to develop various adverse clinical syndromes. Since direct measurements of insulin sensitivity are not practical in a clinical setting, several surrogate estimates of insulin action have been proposed, including fasting plasma insulin (FPI) concentration and the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) calculated by a formula employing fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and FPI concentrations. The objective of this study was to compare FPI as an estimate of insulin-mediated glucose disposal with values generated by HOMA-IR in 758 apparently healthy nondiabetic individuals. Measurements were made of FPG, FPI, triglyceride (TG), and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) concentrations, and insulin-mediated glucose uptake was quantified by determining steady-state plasma glucose (SSPG) concentration during the insulin suppression test. FPI and HOMA-IR were highly correlated (r = 0.98, P < 0.001). The SSPG concentration also correlated to a similar degree (P < 0.001) with FPI (r = 0.60) and HOMA-IR (r = 0.64). Furthermore, the relationship between FPI and TG (r = 0.35) and HDL-C (r = −0.40) was comparable to that between HOMA-IR and TG (r = 0.39) and HDL-C (r = −0.41). In conclusion, FPI and HOMA-IR are highly correlated in nondiabetic individuals, with each estimate accounting for ~40 % of the variability (variance) in a direct measure of insulin-mediated glucose disposal. Calculation of HOMA-IR does not provide a better surrogate estimate of insulin action, or of its associated dyslipidemia, than measurement of FPI.
Insulin resistanceHomeostasis model assessment of insulin resistanceFasting insulinSteady-state plasma glucoseTriglyceridesHigh-density lipoprotein cholesterol