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Stroke. 1998 Aug;29(8):1498-503.

Proinsulin and insulin concentrations in relation to carotid wall thickness: Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 78284-7873, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:

Insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia have been associated with atherosclerosis. Recent attention has focused on the possible role of proinsulin because most radioimmunoassays for insulin cross-react with proinsulin. Therefore, it is not known which of the two, insulin per se or proinsulin, is more strongly related to atherosclerosis.

METHODS:

We examined the relation between fasting proinsulin, fasting split proinsulin, fasting and 2-hour insulin (after oral glucose load), and intima-media wall thickness (IMT) in the common carotid artery (CCA) and internal carotid artery (ICA) in 985 nondiabetic subjects from the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study, a multiethnic study of insulin resistance and atherosclerosis.

RESULTS:

In the overall population, a weak but significant relation between proinsulin and CCA IMT was observed (r=0.07, P=0.029). However, the relation between proinsulin and IMT was stronger in Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites than in African Americans. In non-Hispanic whites and Hispanics, significant correlations between CCA and proinsulin (r=0.087) and between ICA and proinsulin (r=0.101), split proinsulin (r = 0.092), and fasting insulin (r = 0.087) were observed. The significant correlations became more attenuated (and nonsignificant) after adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors, especially plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1).

CONCLUSIONS:

The association between proinsulin and IMT, while weak, appears to be stronger than the association between insulin and IMT. Adjustment for PAI-1 markedly attenuated the association between proinsulin and IMT, suggesting a possible mediating role for PAI-1 in this association. It is possible that proinsulin may represent a marker of atherosclerosis rather than a causal factor for atherosclerosis. Studies of the insulin resistance syndrome and atherosclerosis that use insulin as a surrogate for insulin resistance should consider the use of specific insulin assays as well as determination of proinsulin concentrations.

PMID:
9707183
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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