Association Between Low-Grade Systemic Inflammation and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Among Men and Women from the ATTICA Study

Rev Diabet Stud. 2007 Summer;4(2):98-104. doi: 10.1900/RDS.2007.4.98. Epub 2007 Aug 10.


Aim: To investigate the relationship between low-grade inflammation and several glycemic indices in a population-based sample of men and women.

Methods: The ATTICA study is a population-based cohort that randomly enrolled 1514 men and 1528 women (aged >18 years old), stratified by age and gender, from the Greater Athens area, during 2001-2002. Among several characteristics, inflammation markers (high sensitivity C-reactive protein, interleukin-6, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, homocysteine and amyloid A) and glycemic control indices (fasting blood glucose, insulin, HOMA) were measured in the participants.

Results: The prevalence of diabetes was 7.8% in men and 6.0% in women. The prevalence of impaired fasting glucose (IFG) was 21% in men and 12% in women. Diabetic subjects had 57% higher mean levels of C-reactive protein (p < 0.001), 22% higher mean levels of interleukin-6 (p < 0.001) and 60% higher levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (p < 0.001) compared to non-diabetic subjects. Homocysteine and serum amyloid A levels did not show significant differences among groups.

Conclusion: Our study supports a positive association between low-grade inflammation and diabetes in a population-based sample of men and women without any evidence of cardiovascular disease, which is independent of demographic, clinical and lifestyle characteristics, including physical activity and dietary factors.