Aims/hypotheses: Insulin resistance is thought to be a key predictor for the development of Type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease (CVD), a leading cause of morbidity and premature mortality in Europe. Insulin resistance is influenced by both genetic and lifestyle factors (e.g. obesity and physical inactivity). The RISC (Relationship between Insulin Sensitivity and Cardiovascular disease) Study is using the infrastructure of an extended European collaborative research group to study insulin resistance and CVD risk in 1500 healthy people aged 30 to 60 years from 20 centres in 13 countries.
Methods: Baseline measurements of glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity are made by the oral glucose tolerance test and the euglycaemic insulin clamp, respectively; carotid artery intima-medial thickness (by ultrasound), ankle/brachial pressure index and electrocardiography will enable evaluation of subclinical CVD at baseline and at follow-up. Classic CVD risk factors, as well as socioeconomic and lifestyle factors will be recorded at baseline; samples for measurement of biochemical and genetic markers will be collected and stored for future analyses. Investigations will be repeated after 3 and 10 years to evaluate the relationship between insulin resistance and the development of atherosclerosis as measured by carotid artery intima-media thickness. Development of Type 2 diabetes, dyslipidaemia, obesity, hypertension and cardiovascular events are additional endpoints.
Conclusions: This study will evaluate the importance of insulin resistance in the development of CVD and diabetes, and has implications for the development of prevention and treatment strategies.