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Intern Med. 2012;51(6):545-51. Epub 2012 Mar 15.

Serum glycerophosphate levels are increased in Japanese men with type 2 diabetes.

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Department of Neurology, Hematology, Metabolism, Endocrinology and Diabetology (DNHMED), Yamagata University School of Medicine, Japan.



To identify metabolites showing changes in serum levels among Japanese male with diabetes.


We performed metabolite profiling by coupling capillary electrophoresis with electrospray ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry using fasting serum samples from Japanese male subjects with diabetes (n=17), impaired glucose tolerance (IGT; n=5) and normal glucose tolerance (NGT; n=14).


Other than the expected differences in characteristics related to abnormal glucose metabolism, the percent body fat was significantly different among subjects with diabetes, IGT and NGT (27.3±6.2, 22.2±4.5 and 19.2±6.0%, respectively, p=0.0022). Therefore, percent body fat was considered as a possible confounding factor in subsequent analyses. Of 560 metabolites detected using our platform, the levels of 74 metabolites were quantified in all of the serum samples. Significant differences between diabetes and NGT were observed for 24 metabolites. The top-ranked metabolite was glycerol-3-phophate (glycerophosphate), which was significantly higher in subjects with diabetes than in those with NGT, even after Bonferroni correction for multiple testing (11.7±3.6 vs. 6.4±1.9 µM, respectively; corrected p=0.0222). Stepwise multiple regression analyses revealed that serum glycerophosphate levels were significantly correlated with 2-h plasma glucose after a 75-g oral glucose tolerance test (r=0.553, p=0.0005), independently of other characteristics, including FPG and HbA1c.


Serum glycerophosphate levels were found to be elevated in Japanese men with diabetes, and correlated with 2-h PG, independent of FPG and HbA1c. Namely, serum glycerophosphate level at fasting condition can be a marker for predicting glucose intolerance. These results warrant further studies to evaluate the relevance of glycerophosphate in the pathophysiology of diabetes.

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