Aims: Obesity associated prolonged hyperinsulinemia followed by β-cell failure is well established as the pathology behind type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). However, studies on nonobese T2DM have reported it to be a distinct clinical entity with predominant insulin secretory defect. We, therefore, hypothesized that compensatory hyperinsulinemia in response to weight gain is impaired in nonobese subjects.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study from a community-based metabolic health screening program. Adiposity parameters including body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), body fat percentage, plasma leptin concentration and metabolic parameters namely fasting insulin, glucose, total cholesterol, and triglycerides were measured in 650 individuals (73% healthy, 62% nonobese with a BMI <25).
Results: In contrast to obese T2DM, nonobese T2DM patients did not exhibit significant hyperinsulinemia compared with the nonobese healthy group. Age, sex, and fasting glucose adjusted insulin levels, homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) and HOMA-beta cell function (HOMA-B) were increased in obese T2DM compared with nonobese T2DM. Although adiposity parameters showed strong correlation with fasting insulin in obese healthy (r = 0.38, 0.38, and 0.42, respectively; all p values < 0.001) and T2DM (r = 0.54, 0.54, and 0.66, respectively; all p < 0.001), only BMI and leptin showed a weak correlation with insulin in the nonobese healthy group (0.13 and 0.13, respectively; all p < 0.05) which were completely lost in the nonobese T2DM.
Conclusions: Compensatory hyperinsulinemia in response to weight gain is impaired in the nonobese population making insulin secretory defect rather than IR the major pathology behind nonobese T2DM.
Keywords: body mass index; hyperinsulinemia; leptin; nonobese; type 2 diabetes; β-cell failure.
© The Author(s), 2019.
Conflict of interest statement
Conflict of interest statement: The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.
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