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PLoS One. 2014 Oct 27;9(10):e109702. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0109702. eCollection 2014.

Factors associated with beta-cell dysfunction in type 2 diabetes: the BETADECLINE study.

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Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Messina, Messina, Italy.
Metabolism and Diabetes Unit ASL TO5, Chieri, Italy.
MSD, Rome, Italy.
Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Epidemiology Fondazione Mario Negri Sud, S. Maria Imbaro, Italy.



Beta-cell dysfunction is an early event in the natural history of type 2 diabetes. However, its progression is variable and potentially influenced by several clinical factors. We report the baseline data of the BetaDecline study, an Italian prospective multicenter study on clinical predictors of beta-cell dysfunction in type 2 diabetes.


Clinical, lifestyle, and laboratory data, including circulating levels of inflammatory markers and non-esterified fatty acids, were collected in 507 type 2 diabetic outpatients on stable treatment with oral hypoglycemic drugs or diet for more than 1 year. Beta-cell dysfunction was evaluated by calculating the proinsulin/insulin ratio (P/I).


At baseline, the subjects in the upper PI/I ratio quartile were more likely to be men and receiving secretagogue drugs; they also showed a borderline longer diabetes duration (P = 0.06) and higher serum levels of glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), fasting blood glucose, and triglycerides. An inverse trend across all PI/I quartiles was noted for BMI and serum levels of total cholesterol (T-C), LDL-C, HDL-C and C reactive protein (CRP), and with homeostatic model assessment (HOMA-B) and HOMA of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) values (P<0.05 for all). At multivariate analysis, the risk of having a P/I ratio in the upper quartile was higher in the subjects on secretagogue drugs (odds ratio [OR] 4.2; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.6-6.9) and in the males (OR 1.8; 95% CI, 1.1-2.9).


In the BetaDecline study population, baseline higher PI/I values, a marker of beta-cell dysfunction, were more frequent in men and in patients on secretagogues drugs. Follow-up of this cohort will allow the identification of clinical predictors of beta-cell failure in type 2 diabetic outpatients.

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