Peripheral blood mitochondrial DNA content and dysregulation of glucose metabolism

Diabetes Res Clin Pract. 2009 Jan;83(1):94-9. doi: 10.1016/j.diabres.2008.10.002. Epub 2008 Nov 18.


Objective: The aim of this study was to examine the potential influence of insulin resistance (IR), hyperglycemia and oxidative stress on leucocytes mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) content.

Research design and method: One hundred twenty-five T2DM, 101 IFG and 70 normal subjects were enrolled in this study. The quantity of relative mtDNA content was measured by a real-time PCR and corrected by simultaneous measurement of the nuclear DNA. Parameters of lipid peroxidation, thiobarbituric acid reactive substance (TBARS), and total free thiols as antioxidative status were measured from serum samples. IR was assessed by homeostasis model assessment in the non-diabetic groups. Relationships among different variables were analyzed by general linear model correlation.

Results: In all subjects, after correcting for age, sex and BMI, there were progressive increases of leucocyte mtDNA copy number, TBARS, and total reduced thiols with progressive dysregulation of glucose metabolism (normal vs. IFG vs. T2DM). Furthermore, correlation between mtDNA content and glucose dysregulation persisted after sequential correction for age, sex, BMI and TBARS. The independent predictor of mtDNA content by regression analysis was hyperglycemia. In non-diabetic group, influence of family history of diabetes on mtDNA content turned to non-significant after correcting for fasting plasma glucose (FPG). Correlation study revealed that mtDNA content was correlated with FPG (P<0.001), but not IR.

Conclusion: Our results indicate that hyperglycemia, not IR, is associated with an increase of leucocyte mtDNA copy number in cases of glucose dysregulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Female
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / physiopathology
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Leukocytes / metabolism*
  • Lipid Peroxidation / physiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances / metabolism


  • Blood Glucose
  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances
  • Glucose