Background Insulin resistance (IR) is implicated as an independent risk factor for vascular disease. The aim of this study was to assess the impact of family history (FH) of type 2 diabetes (T2DM) and/or cardiovascular disease (CVD) on the associations between IR, low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and subclinical atherosclerosis (common and internal carotid artery intima media thickness (IMT)) in healthy European adults.
Methods Participants (n=1048) in the Relationship between Insulin Sensitivity and Cardiovascular disease (RISC) study were grouped according to family history of: (i) type 2 diabetes (FH-T2DM); (ii) cardiovascular disease (FH-CVD); (iii) both (FH-BOTH); or (iv) neither (CON). Insulin resistance (M-value, hyperinsulinaemic euglycaemic clamp), LDL-C and IMT were examined in relation to FH in all available participants, and then within subcohorts (highest quintiles) with higher LDL-C (>3.5 mmol/l (>135 mg/dl), n=252) or greater IR (M-value<5 mg/min/kg, n=299).
Results Carotid IMTs were comparable across the four FH groups, but insulin sensitivity (M-value) was lower (p<0.01) in FH-T2DM (6.1±2.6 mg/min/kg than in either CON (6.9±2.9 mg/min/kg) or FH-CVD (7.1±2.7 mg/min/kg). Within the highest LDL-C quintile, those with FH-CVD (or FH-BOTH) had higher common and internal carotid IMT (6–12%, p<0.05 vs CON). In contrast, within the most IR quintile, FH-CVD was not associated with IMT.
Conclusion In this cross-sectional analysis, family history of T2DM (but not of CVD) was associated with IR. In the presence of elevated LDL-C, FH-CVD (but not FH-T2DM) was associated with increased carotid IMT.
- Insulin resistance
- vascular disease
- low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol
- metabolic syndrome
- cerebral protection
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