Background: Hyperproinsulinemia is an indicator of β-cell dysfunction, and fasting proinsulin levels are elevated in patients with hyperglycemia. It is not known whether proinsulin levels after a glucose load are better predictors of hyperglycemia and type 2 diabetes than fasting proinsulin.
Methods: Participants were 9,396 Finnish men (mean±SD, age 57.3±7.1 years, BMI 27.0±4.0 kg/m2) of the population-based METabolic Syndrome In Men Study who were non-diabetic at the recruitment, and who participated in a 6-year follow-up study. Proinsulin and insulin levels were measured in the fasting state and 30 and 120 min after an oral glucose load. Area under the curve (AUC) and proinsulin to insulin ratios were calculated.
Results: Fasting proinsulin, proinsulin at 30 min and proinsulin AUC during the first 30 min of an oral glucose tolerance test significantly predicted both the worsening of hyperglycemia and type 2 diabetes after adjustment for confounding factors. Further adjustment for insulin sensitivity (Matsuda index) or insulin secretion (Disposition index) weakened these associations. Insulin sensitivity had a major impact on these associations.
Conclusion: Our results suggest that proinsulin in the fasting state and after an oral glucose load similarly predict the worsening of hyperglycemia and conversion to type 2 diabetes.