Background: Insulin resistance has been associated with hypertension and with renal complications in patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus. Causal relationships have not been fully explained.
Methods: We investigated whether insulin resistance precedes microalbuminuria by measuring insulin resistance with a euglycaemic clamp in combination with indirect calorimetry in 16 uncomplicated type 1 diabetic patients and in six healthy control subjects. The patients had over 10 year duration of diabetes, and were expected to experience either a complication-free or complicated disease course within the next few years. They have thereafter been followed for the development of microalbuminuria for 3 years.
Results: In a euglycaemic insulin clamp glucose disposal was lower in diabetic patients compared with control subjects (7.5 +/- 2.9 and 12.6 +/- 2.0 mg/kg LBM/min; P<0.002), mainly due to impaired glucose storage (4.3 +/- 2.3 vs 8.6 +/- 1.6 mg/kg LBM/min; P<0.001). Three years later seven IDDM patients had albumin excretion rate over 30 mg/24 h; glucose disposal (5.5 +/- 2.1 vs 9.0 +/- 2.2 mg/kg LBM/min; P<0.01) had been lower in patients who developed microalbuminuria compared with those who remained normoalbuminuric.
Conclusions: Insulin resistance predicts the increment in urinary albumin excretion. Insulin resistance depends mainly on impaired glucose storage in uncomplicated IDDM.