Sex differences in glucose and insulin trajectories prior to diabetes diagnosis: the Whitehall II study

Acta Diabetol. 2014 Apr;51(2):315-9. doi: 10.1007/s00592-012-0429-7. Epub 2012 Sep 16.


To examine sex differences in trajectories of glucose and insulin prior to the development of type 2 diabetes. Glucose and insulin levels from oral glucose tolerance tests performed every 5 years in the prospective Whitehall II cohort were analysed using mixed-effects models. Out of 6,712 White participants, 475 men and 177 women developed diabetes during a median follow-up time of 14 years. Men who developed diabetes had higher fasting glucose levels than women over the entire follow-up period (P < 0.001), whereas trajectories of 2-h glucose did not differ between sexes (P = 0.34). Two-hour insulin levels tended to be higher among women than men developing diabetes (P = 0.05), but not after adjustment for height (P = 0.45). Men have higher fasting glucose levels than women many years before the diagnosis of diabetes and at time of diagnosis, indicating that the pathogenesis of diabetes may be different between sexes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood*
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sex Factors


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin