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Acta Diabetol. 2003 Jun;40(2):95-100.

Serum sialic acid in subjects with impaired glucose tolerance and in newly diagnosed type 2 diabetic patients.

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  • 1Laboratory of Cell Biochemistry, The Vuk Vrhovac University, Clinic for Diabetes Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases, 4a Dugi Dol, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia.


Several general population studies and those carried out in diabetic patients with complications have pointed to serum sialic acid as a marker of inflammation in atherosclerosis. In this study we examined whether total sialic acid (TSA) was changed in the sera of 28 newly diagnosed subjects with type 2 diabetes (type 2 DM), 47 subjects with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and 72 subjects with normal glucose tolerance (NGT). The associations between sialic acid and other atherosclerotic risk factors such as lipid profile, baseline diene conjugates in low-density lipoproteins (LDL-BDC) and fasting insulin were also investigated. We found a trend to TSA increase in subjects with impaired glucose tolerance and a significant increase in TSA in newly diagnosed patients with type 2 DM (2.2+/-0.3 vs. 1.9+/-0.3 mmol/l; p<0.03) when compared to subjects with NGT. Lipid profile and LDL-BDC, as a marker of circulating oxidized LDL, did not differ among glucose tolerance categories. Significant associations between total sialic acid and 2-h post-load glucose level, fasting insulin, insulin sensitivity, HDL-cholesterol and log of triglycerides were found in the examined subjects. Multiple regression analysis showed significant correlations between serum sialic acid and 2-h post-load glucose levels and insulin sensitivity. This study indicates that measurement of TSA as a marker of subclinical inflammation may be valuable as an independent parameter in identifying subjects at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes and those who might benefit from anti-inflammatory treatment.

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