Aims/hypothesis: Systemic pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines are associated with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, while their role in latent autoimmune diabetes in adults (LADA) is unclear. Therefore, we compared cytokine concentrations in patients with LADA, type 1 or type 2 diabetes and healthy individuals to test the hypothesis that differences of cytokine concentrations between all groups are attributable to diabetes type and BMI.
Methods: The pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and TNF-α, and the anti-inflammatory cytokines IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RA) and IL-10 were measured in 90 participants with type 1 diabetes, 61 with LADA, 465 with type 2 diabetes and 41 control participants using multiple regression models adjusted for BMI, sex, age, blood pressure and diabetes duration.
Results: Patients with type 2 diabetes had higher concentrations of systemic IL-1RA, IL-6 and TNF-α cytokines than patients with either LADA or type 1 diabetes (p < 0.0001 for all differences). Cytokine concentrations in controls were lower than those in all diabetes types (p < 0.04). Increased BMI was positively associated with higher systemic cytokine concentrations in all diabetes types (p < 0.0001). Despite the association of cytokines with anthropometric data, differences between diabetes forms persisted also after adjusting analysis for the confounders BMI, age, sex, disease duration and blood pressure (p < 0.04).
Conclusions/interpretation: Although body mass associates positively with pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine levels, patients with type 2 diabetes have higher cytokine levels independent of the prevailing BMI. LADA and type 1 diabetes could not be distinguished by systemic cytokines.