, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 28–32 | Cite as

Thyroid hormones are positively associated with insulin resistance early in the development of type 2 diabetes

  • Vaia Lambadiari
  • Panayota Mitrou
  • Eirini Maratou
  • Athanasios E. Raptis
  • Nikolaos Tountas
  • Sotirios A. Raptis
  • George DimitriadisEmail author
Original Article


Thyroid hormones have generally been found normal in diabetic patients. The question of whether variation within the euthyroid range influences insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes remains to be established. To investigate this, a meal was given to four groups: 17 healthy volunteers (controls), 22 first-degree relatives of type 2 diabetic subjects (relatives), 15 subjects with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT), and 24 subjects with overt type 2 diabetes (DM). Blood was drawn for 360 min for measurements of glucose and insulin. Plasma-free-T4(FT4) and plasma-free-T3(FT3) levels were measured. Fasting and postprandial insulin resistance was assessed by HOMA-IR and ISI indices, respectively. FT4 levels were found to be lower in controls (13.73 ± 0.48 pmol/l) than relatives, IGT, and DM (15.33 ± 0.52, 16.13 ± 0.65, and 17.7 ± 0.85 pmol/l, respectively, P = 0.007). FT3 levels were lower in controls (3.68 ± 0.09 pmol/l) than in relatives, IGT, and DM (4.35 ± 0.1, 4.8 ± 0.067, and 4.87 ± 0.11 pmol/l, respectively, P = 0.001). HOMA-IR was positively associated with FT4 and FT3 levels (β-co-efficient = 1.876 ± 0.476, P = 0.001; and 0.406 ± 0.090, P = 0.001, respectively). ISI was negatively associated with FT4 and FT3 levels (β-co-efficient = −0.051 ± 0.009, P = 0.001 and −0.009 ± 0.002, P = 0.001, respectively). In conclusion, increases of thyroid hormone levels within the normal range associate positively with insulin resistance. These data suggest that thyroid hormones may be part of the pathogenetic mechanism to explain metabolic derangement early in the development of type 2 diabetes.


Insulin resistance Thyroid hormones Type 2 diabetes 



The authors thank E. Pappas for the technical support and V. Frangaki, R.N. for the nursing help.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that “no financial conflict of interest exists”.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vaia Lambadiari
    • 1
  • Panayota Mitrou
    • 2
  • Eirini Maratou
    • 2
  • Athanasios E. Raptis
    • 1
  • Nikolaos Tountas
    • 1
  • Sotirios A. Raptis
    • 1
    • 2
  • George Dimitriadis
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.2nd Department of Internal Medicine, Research Institute and Diabetes CenterAthens University Medical SchoolAthensGreece
  2. 2.Hellenic National Center for ResearchPrevention and Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus and its ComplicationsAthensGreece
  3. 3.2nd Department of Internal Medicine, Research Institute and Diabetes Center Athens University, “Attikon” University HospitalHaidariGreece

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