Renal function is associated with peak exercise capacity in adolescents with type 1 diabetes

Diabetes Care. 2015 Jan;38(1):126-31. doi: 10.2337/dc14-1742. Epub 2014 Nov 20.


Objective: Diabetic nephropathy and cardiovascular disease are strongly related in adults with type 1 diabetes, yet little is known about this relationship in adolescents prior to the onset of detectable clinical disease. We hypothesized that cardiopulmonary fitness would be directly associated with albumin-to-creatinine ratio (ACR) and inversely related to estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) in adolescents with type 1 diabetes.

Research design and methods: Sixty-nine adolescents with type 1 diabetes and 13 nondiabetic control subjects of similar pubertal stage and BMI had insulin sensitivity (glucose infusion rate [GIR]), measured by hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp, and lean body mass, measured by DEXA. Cardiopulmonary fitness was measured by cycle ergometry to obtain peak volume of oxygen (VO2peak), and renal function was measured by eGFR using the Bouvet equation (measuring creatinine and cystatin C levels) and ACR.

Results: Adolescents (15.5 ± 2.2 years of age) with type 1 diabetes (6.3 ± 3.8 years diabetes duration) had reduced VO2peak (31.5 ± 6.3 vs. 36.2 ± 7.9 mL/kg ⋅ min, P = 0.046) and VO2peak/lean kg (43.7 ± 7.0 vs. 51.0 ± 8.6 mL/lean kg ⋅ min, P = 0.007) compared with nondiabetic control subjects. eGFR was inversely associated with VO2peak and VO2peak/lean kg after adjusting for sex, Tanner stage, GIR, HbA1c level, systolic blood pressure, and LDL cholesterol level (β ± SE, VO2peak: -0.19 ± 0.07, P = 0.02; VO2peak/lean kg: -0.19 ± 0.09, P = 0.048). Moreover, participants in the highest tertile for eGFR had significantly lower sex- and Tanner-adjusted VO2peak and VO2peak/lean kg compared with participants in the lowest tertile.

Conclusions: Adolescents with type 1 diabetes had reduced exercise capacity, which was strongly associated with renal health, independent of insulin sensitivity. Future studies should examine the underlying interrelated pathophysiology in order to identify probable targets for treatment to reduce cardiovascular and renal complications.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Composition
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Creatinine / urine
  • Cystatin C / urine
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / physiopathology*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / physiopathology*
  • Exercise Tolerance*
  • Female
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Kidney / physiopathology*
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Cystatin C
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Creatinine