Mechanism by which high-dose aspirin improves glucose metabolism in type 2 diabetes

J Clin Invest. 2002 May;109(10):1321-6. doi: 10.1172/JCI14955.


Recent studies have implicated fatty acid-dependent activation of the serine kinase IKKbeta, which plays a key role in tissue inflammation, in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance. High doses of salicylates have recently been shown to inhibit IKKbeta activity and might therefore ameliorate insulin resistance and improve glucose tolerance in patients with type 2 diabetes. To test this hypothesis, we studied nine type 2 diabetic subjects before and after 2 weeks of treatment with aspirin ( approximately 7 g/d). Subjects underwent mixed-meal tolerance tests and hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamps with [6,6-(2)H2]glucose to assess glucose turnover before and after treatment. High-dose aspirin treatment resulted in a approximately 25% reduction in fasting plasma glucose, associated with a approximately 15% reduction in total cholesterol and C-reactive protein, a approximately 50% reduction in triglycerides, and a approximately 30% reduction in insulin clearance, despite no change in body weight. During a mixed-meal tolerance test, the areas under the curve for plasma glucose and fatty acid levels decreased by approximately 20% and approximately 50%, respectively. Aspirin treatment also resulted in a approximately 20% reduction in basal rates of hepatic glucose production and a approximately 20% improvement in insulin-stimulated peripheral glucose uptake under matched plasma insulin concentrations during the clamp. In conclusion, these data support the hypothesis that IKKbeta represents a new target for treating type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aspirin / administration & dosage*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors / administration & dosage*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • I-kappa B Kinase
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cyclooxygenase Inhibitors
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • CHUK protein, human
  • I-kappa B Kinase
  • IKBKB protein, human
  • IKBKE protein, human
  • Aspirin