Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Stroke. 1998 Aug;29(8):1498-503.

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

Author information

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



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.


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.


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).


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.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk