Aims/hypothesis: Impaired glucose tolerance is associated with metabolic alterations which increase cardiovascular disease risk. The contribution of hyperglycaemia to this increased risk is, however, not clear. Abdominal obesity is often observed in subjects with impaired glucose tolerance; our objective was therefore to find the contribution of visceral adipose tissue to the deterioration of the metabolic risk profile noted in subjects with impaired glucose tolerance.
Methods: We studied 284 men with a normal glucose tolerance and 66 men with impaired glucose tolerance which was defined as a glycaemia between 7.8 and 11.1 mmol/l 2 h after a 75-g glucose load.
Results: Men with impaired glucose tolerance had more visceral adipose tissue and higher concentrations of plasma glucose and insulin in the fasting state and following a 75-g oral glucose load than men with a normal glucose tolerance. They also had higher concentrations of plasma cholesterol, triglycerides, apolipoprotein B and lower concentrations of HDL-cholesterol as well as higher cholesterol:HDL-cholesterol ratios than men with a normal glucose tolerance. The two groups of men were then compared after a statistical adjustment for the amount of visceral adipose tissue. Although men with impaired glucose tolerance still had higher fasting plasma glucose and insulin concentrations after the adjustment for visceral adipose tissue, differences in all the variables of the lipid-lipoprotein profile were eliminated.
Conclusion/interpretation: Visceral adipose tissue accumulation is an important factor in the deterioration of the plasma lipid-lipoprotein noted in men with impaired glucose tolerance.