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N Engl J Med. 2004 Nov 18;351(21):2179-86.

Premature birth and later insulin resistance.

Author information

1
Liggins Institute, Faculty of Medicine and Health Science, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand. p.hofman@auckland.ac.nz

Erratum in

  • N Engl J Med. 2004 Dec 30;351(27):2888.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Term infants who are small for gestational age appear prone to the development of insulin resistance during childhood. We hypothesized that insulin resistance, a marker of type 2 diabetes mellitus, would be prevalent among children who had been born prematurely, irrespective of whether they were appropriate for gestational age or small for gestational age.

METHODS:

Seventy-two healthy prepubertal children 4 to 10 years of age were studied: 50 who had been born prematurely (32 weeks' gestation or less), including 38 with a birth weight that was appropriate for gestational age (above the 10th percentile) and 12 with a birth weight that was low (i.e., who were small) for gestational age, and 22 control subjects (at least 37 weeks' gestation, with a birth weight above the 10th percentile). Insulin sensitivity was measured with the use of paired insulin and glucose data obtained by frequent measurements during intravenous glucose-tolerance tests.

RESULTS:

Children who had been born prematurely, whether their weight was appropriate or low for gestational age, had an isolated reduction in insulin sensitivity as compared with controls (appropriate-for-gestational-age group, 14.2x10(-4) per minute per milliunit per liter [95 percent confidence interval, 11.5 to 16.2]; small-for-gestational-age group, 12.9x10(-4) per minute per milliunit per liter [95 percent confidence interval, 9.7 to 17.4]; and control group, 21.6x10(-4) per minute per milliunit per liter [95 percent confidence interval, 17.1 to 27.4]; P=0.002). There were no significant differences in insulin sensitivity between the two premature groups (P=0.80). As compared with controls, both groups of premature children had a compensatory increase in acute insulin release (appropriate-for-gestational-age group, 2002 pmol per liter [95 percent confidence interval, 1434 to 2432] [corrected]; small-for-gestational-age group, 2253 pmol per liter [95 percent confidence interval, 1622 to 3128]; and control group, 1148 pmol per liter [95 percent confidence interval, 875 to 1500]; P<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS:

Like children who were born at term but who were small for gestational age, children who were born prematurely have an isolated reduction in insulin sensitivity, which may be a risk factor for type 2 diabetes mellitus.

PMID:
15548778
DOI:
10.1056/NEJMoa042275
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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