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Eur J Endocrinol. 2010 Oct;163(4):625-30. doi: 10.1530/EJE-10-0246. Epub 2010 Jul 19.

Studies of insulin resistance in patients with clinical and subclinical hyperthyroidism.

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Hellenic National Center for Research, Prevention and Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus and its Complications (HNDC), Athens, Greece.



Although clinical hyperthyroidism (HR) is associated with insulin resistance, the information on insulin action in subclinical hyperthyroidism (SHR) is limited.


To investigate this, we assessed the sensitivity of glucose metabolism to insulin in vivo (by an oral glucose tolerance test) and in vitro (by measuring insulin-stimulated rates of glucose transport in isolated monocytes) in 12 euthyroid subjects (EU), 16 patients with HR, and 10 patients with SHR.


HR and SHR patients displayed higher postprandial glucose levels (area under the curve, AUC(0)(-)(300) 32,190±1067 and 31,497±716,mg/dl min respectively) versus EU (27,119±1156 mg/dl min, P<0.05). HR but not SHR patients displayed higher postprandial insulin levels (AUC(0)(-)(300) 11,020±985 and 9565±904 mU/l min respectively) compared with EU subjects (AUC(0)(-)(300) 7588±743 mU/l min, P<0.05). Homeostasis model assessment index was increased in HR and SHR patients (2.81±0.3 and 2.43±0.38 respectively) compared with EU subjects (1.27±0.16, P<0.05), while Matsuda and Belfiore indices were decreased in HR (4.21±0.41 and 0.77±0.05 respectively, P<0.001) and SHR patients (4.47±0.33 and 0.85±0.05 respectively, P<0.05 versus EU (7.76±0.87 and 1 respectively). At 100 μU/ml insulin, i) GLUT3 levels on the monocyte plasma membrane were increased in HR (468.8±7 mean fluorescence intensity (MFI)) and SHR patients (522.2±25 MFI) compared with EU subjects (407±18 MFI, P<0.01 and P<0.05 respectively), ii) glucose transport rates in monocytes (increases from baseline) were decreased in HR patients (37.8±5%) versus EU subjects (61.26±10%, P<0.05).


Insulin-stimulated glucose transport in isolated monocytes of patients with HR was decreased compared with EU subjects. Insulin resistance was comparable in patients with both HR and SHR.

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