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Cardiorenal Med. 2012 Feb;2(1):26-32. Epub 2011 Dec 23.

Adjusting for Urinary Creatinine Overestimates Arsenic Concentrations in Diabetics.

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  • 1Section of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension, Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, Southern Arizona Veterans Administration Healthcare System, University of Arizona, Ariz., USA.



Arsenic (As) is linked to insulin resistance in animal studies, but the effect of low-level As exposure on the prevalence of diabetes in humans is uncertain. An optimal method to report inorganic As in humans has not been established. Measurements of As in spot urine are usually adjusted to creatinine (Cr). However, urinary Cr is an independent variable in diabetes. Our aims are to optimize reporting of urinary As in the setting of diabetes and insulin resistance.


Urinary inorganic As was measured in 24-hour or first-void spot urine from diabetic (n = 31) and non-diabetic (n = 12) subjects and normalized to Cr or specific gravity (SG). The relation of normalized urinary inorganic As to glycemia and surrogate measures of insulin resistance was investigated. Blood pressure, waist circumference, and glycated hemoglobin were also assessed. Homeostasis model assessment was used to determine insulin resistance.


A strong correlation was found between spot urinary As adjusted to Cr (R(2) = 0.82) or SG (R(2) = 0.61) to 24-hour urinary As (p < 0.001), while non-adjusted urinary As did not correlate well (R(2) = 0.03, p = 0.46). Adjusting for Cr revealed significant differences in total 24-hour urinary As when comparing diabetic to normal subjects. In contrast, no differences were found when As was adjusted to SG using either 24-hour or spot urine. Moreover, adjusted urinary spot or 24-hour As measures did not correlate with measures of glycemia or insulin resistance. Conclusions: Urinary Cr is an independent variable in diabetes, therefore adjusting spot As for SG is preferred.

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