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Clin Immunol. 2005 Nov;117(2):152-60. Epub 2005 Aug 19.

Elevated plasma interleukin-18 is a marker of insulin-resistance in type 2 diabetic and non-diabetic humans.

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Centre of Inflammation and Metabolism, The Department of Infectious Diseases and The Copenhagen Muscle Research Centre, Rigshospitalet and The Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.


Elevated plasma IL-18 is present in several conditions sharing insulin-resistance as common trait, but the association with insulin-resistance per se is not established. Plasma/serum IL-6, IL-18, TNF-alpha, soluble TNF receptor II (sTNFR2), and C-reactive protein (CRP) were measured in 97 patients with type 2 diabetes (DM) and 84 non-diabetic controls (CON). The association with insulin-resistance-estimated using the homeostasis model assessment (HOMA-IR)-was analyzed using multivariate linear and logistic regression. Compared to CON, DM demonstrated higher plasma levels of IL-18 (P = 0.001), IL-6 (P < 0.001), sTNFR2 (P = 0.005), and CRP (P < 0.001), while TNF-alpha was lower (P = 0.017). Plasma IL-18 increased across HOMA-IR quartiles in both DM and CON, both with and without adjustment for confounders (all P < 0.05). In contrast, neither IL-6, TNF-alpha, sTNFR2, nor CRP was associated with HOMA-IR in CON when adjusting for confounders. Accordingly, 50% increase of IL-18 corresponded to a marked increase of HOMA-IR in both DM and CON (DM: 26%, P = 0.014; CON: 25%, P = 0.003) after adjustment for confounders. Our results show that plasma IL-18 was associated with HOMA-IR independent of obesity and type 2 diabetes.

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