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      Simple Fasting Methods to Assess Insulin Sensitivity in Childhood


      Hormone Research in Paediatrics

      S. Karger AG

      Insulin sensitivity, Insulin resistance, Children, Methodology, HOMA, HOMA2, QUICKI

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          The ‘gold standard’ techniques used to measure insulin sensitivity in children are the hyperinsulinaemic-euglycaemic clamp and Bergman’s minimal model. Although precise, these techniques are complex, invasive and time consuming. Alternative indirect measures of insulin sensitivity have been developed that utilize fasting glucose and insulin data in algorithms or computer programs. These methods include homeostatic model assessment (HOMA), the quantitative insulin sensitivity check index (QUICKI) and the glucose to insulin ratio (G:I). Each of these three fasting techniques has been developed and validated in adults, with little or no validation in children. Increasingly, HOMA and QUICKI are being used in childhood studies to assess insulin sensitivity. In a group of 79 pre-pubertal children, we found that the correlation between the minimal model and R<sub>HOMA</sub> (r = –0.4) was no better than that between the minimal model and fasting insulin (r = 0.4), with an even weaker correlation between the minimal model and QUICKI (r = 0.2). In addition, neither HOMA nor QUICKI were able to detect a reduction in insulin sensitivity with obesity or during growth hormone therapy, unlike the minimal model. In children with normal glucose levels, neither HOMA nor QUICKI was superior to fasting insulin. Validation of the derivation formulae for these methods in children is needed before they are more widely used. The potential benefits of these simple fasting techniques is that they are useful in large field studies. However, if the study groups are small or longitudinal changes in insulin sensitivity are sought, more precise techniques such as the clamp or minimal model should be used.

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          Most cited references 17

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          Diagnosing insulin resistance in the general population.

          Difficulties in measuring insulin sensitivity prevent the identification of insulin-resistant individuals in the general population. Therefore, we compared fasting insulin, homeostasis model assessment (HOMA), insulin-to-glucose ratio, Bennett index, and a score based on weighted combinations of fasting insulin, BMI, and fasting triglycerides with the euglycemic insulin clamp to determine the most appropriate method for assessing insulin resistance in the general population. Family history of diabetes, BMI, blood pressure, waist and hip circumference, fasting lipids, glucose, insulin, liver enzymes, and insulin sensitivity index (ISI) using the euglycemic insulin clamp were obtained for 178 normoglycemic individuals aged 25-68 years. Product-moment correlations were used to examine the association between ISI and various surrogate measurements of insulin sensitivity. Regression models were used to devise weights for each variable and to identify cutoff points for individual components of the score. A bootstrap procedure was used to identify the most useful predictors of ISI. Correlation coefficients between ISI and fasting insulin, HOMA, insulin-to-glucose ratio, and the Bennett index were similar in magnitude. The variables that best predicted insulin sensitivity were fasting insulin and fasting triglycerides. The use of a score based on Mffm/I = exp[2.63 - 0.28ln(insulin) - 0.31ln(TAG)] rather than the use of fasting insulin alone resulted in a higher sensitivity and a maintained specificity when predicting insulin sensitivity. A weighted combination of two routine laboratory measurements, i.e., fasting insulin and triglycerides, provides a simple means of screening for insulin resistance in the general population.
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            Premature birth and later insulin resistance.

            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. 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. 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). 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. Copyright 2004 Massachusetts Medical Society.
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              Impaired insulin action in puberty. A contributing factor to poor glycemic control in adolescents with diabetes.

              Patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus often have poor metabolic control during puberty. To determine whether puberty is associated with decreased insulin-stimulated glucose metabolism, we compared the results of euglycemic insulin-clamp studies in adults and prepubertal and pubertal children with and without insulin-dependent diabetes. In nondiabetic pubertal children, insulin-stimulated glucose metabolism (201 +/- 12 mg per square meter of body surface area per minute) was sharply reduced, as compared with that of prepubertal children and adults (316 +/- 34 and 290 +/- 21 mg per square meter, respectively; P less than 0.01), despite comparable hyperinsulinemia (insulin levels of 80 to 90 microU per milliliter). Similarly, the response to insulin was 25 to 30 percent lower in the diabetic pubertal children than in the diabetic prepubertal children (P less than 0.05) and adults (P = 0.07). At each stage of development, the stimulating effect of insulin on glucose metabolism was decreased by 33 to 42 percent in the children with diabetes (P less than 0.01). In all the groups of children studied, the response to insulin was inversely correlated with mean 24-hour levels of growth hormone (r = -0.52, P = 0.01). Among the diabetic children, the glycosylated hemoglobin levels were substantially higher in the pubertal children than in the prepubertal children (P less than 0.02), although the daily insulin doses tended to be higher. These data suggest that insulin resistance occurs during puberty in both normal children and children with diabetes. The combined adverse effects of puberty and diabetes on insulin action may help explain why control of glycemia is so difficult to achieve in adolescent patients.

                Author and article information

                Horm Res Paediatr
                Hormone Research in Paediatrics
                S. Karger AG
                February 2006
                27 January 2006
                : 64
                : Suppl 3
                : 25-31
                Liggins Institute, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
                89314 Horm Res 2005;64:25–31
                © 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 4, Tables: 1, References: 35, Pages: 7
                Insulin Sensitivity: Methods


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