Aim: To study insulin sensitivity, secretion and relation of insulin levels with birth weight and ponderal index in intrauterine growth retarded (IUGR) infants at birth.
Methods: We studied 30 IUGR and 30 healthy newborns born at term by vaginal delivery in Jipmer, Pondicherry, India. Cord blood was collected at the time of delivery for measurement of plasma glucose and insulin.
Results: When compared with healthy newborns, IUGR newborns had lower plasma glucose levels (mean 2.3+/-0.98 versus 4.1+/-0.51 mmol/L, p<0.001); lower plasma insulin levels (mean 4.5+/-2.64 versus 11.03+/-1.68 microU/L, p<0.001); higher insulin sensitivity calculated using G/I ratio (mean 11.6+/-5.1 versus 6.7+/-0.31, p<0.001), HOMA IS (mean 5.5+/-6.0 versus 0.53+/-0.15, p<0.001), and QUICKI (mean 0.47+/-0.12 versus 0.34+/-0.02, p<0.001); and decreased pancreatic beta-cell function test measured as I/G (mean 0.10+/-0.037 versus 0.15+/-0.006, p<0.001). A positive correlation was identified between insulin levels and birth weight in both the healthy control group (r2 = 0.17, p = 0.024) and IUGR group (r2 = 0.13, p = 0.048). However correlation of insulin levels with ponderal index was much more confident in both healthy control (r2 = 0.90, p<0.001) and IUGR groups (r2 = 0.28, p = 0.003). Insulin status correlated both with birth weight and ponderal index more confidently in control group than in IUGR group.
Conclusion: At birth, IUGR infants are hypoglycaemic, hypoinsulinaemic and display increased insulin sensitivity and decreased pancreatic beta-cell function. Insulin levels correlate with ponderal index much more confidently than with birth weight.