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Evaluation of fasting plasma insulin concentration as an estimate of insulin action in nondiabetic individuals: comparison with the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR)

Abstract

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.

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Acknowledgments

QDO was supported by NIDDK STEP-UP Program of the National Institutes of Health. The study was supported in part by the Clinical and Translational Science Award UL1 RR025744 from the NIH/NCRR.

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Correspondence to Fahim Abbasi.

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Communicated by Guido Pozza.

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Abbasi, F., Okeke, Q. & Reaven, G.M. Evaluation of fasting plasma insulin concentration as an estimate of insulin action in nondiabetic individuals: comparison with the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR). Acta Diabetol 51, 193–197 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00592-013-0461-2

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Keywords

  • Insulin resistance
  • Homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance
  • Fasting insulin
  • Steady-state plasma glucose
  • Triglycerides
  • High-density lipoprotein cholesterol