Insulin resistance, beta cell dysfunction and visceral adiposity as predictors of incident diabetes: the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study (IRAS) Family study

Diabetologia. 2009 Oct;52(10):2079-86. doi: 10.1007/s00125-009-1464-y. Epub 2009 Jul 31.


Aims/hypothesis: Central obesity, insulin resistance and beta cell dysfunction are independent risk factors for incident type 2 diabetes, although few studies have used detailed measures of these disorders. Our objective was to study the association of directly measured visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue (VAT, SAT), insulin sensitivity (S (I)) and the acute insulin response (AIR) with incident type 2 diabetes.

Methods: Participants were 1,230 Hispanic-Americans and African-Americans in the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study (IRAS) Family Study who were free of type 2 diabetes at baseline (2000-2002). S (I) and AIR were determined from frequently sampled IVGTTs with minimal model analysis. VAT and SAT were determined by computed tomography. Impaired fasting glucose and type 2 diabetes were defined according to American Diabetes Association criteria.

Results: Incident type 2 diabetes was diagnosed in 90 participants after 5 years. After adjustment for age, sex, ethnicity, centre, impaired fasting glucose, triacylglycerol, HDL-cholesterol and systolic BP, both S(I) and AIR were inversely associated with type 2 diabetes (S (I), OR 0.53, 95% CI 0.39-0.73; AIR, OR 0.22, 95% CI 0.14-0.34 per SD; both p < 0.001), while both VAT and SAT were positively associated with type 2 diabetes (VAT, OR 1.68, 95% CI 1.22-2.33; SAT, OR 1.49, 95% CI 1.13-1.99; both p < 0.01). In a model including all four factors, S (I) and AIR (S (I), OR 0.55, 95% CI 0.37-0.80; AIR, OR 0.21, 95% CI 0.13-0.33; both p < 0.01) were significant predictors of type 2 diabetes, although associations with VAT and SAT were no longer significant. A significant sex x VAT interaction indicated a stronger association of VAT with type 2 diabetes in women than in men.

Conclusions/interpretation: Insulin resistance, beta cell dysfunction and VAT predicted incident type 2 diabetes, with evidence of a stronger association of VAT with type 2 diabetes among women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity / physiology*
  • Adult
  • African Americans
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / ethnology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin / physiology
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / pathology*
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / pathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sex Factors


  • Insulin