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Open Access Original investigation

Elevated fasting insulin predicts the future incidence of metabolic syndrome: a 5-year follow-up study

Ki-Chul C Sung1*, Mi-Hae H Seo2, Eun-Jung J Rhee2 and Andrew M Wilson3

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Cardiology, Department of Internal Medicine, Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea

2 Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea

3 Department of Medicine, University of Melbourne, St. Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia

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Cardiovascular Diabetology 2011, 10:108  doi:10.1186/1475-2840-10-108

Published: 30 November 2011

Abstract

Background

There is controversy about the specific pathophysiology of metabolic syndrome (MS) but several authors have argued that hyperinsulinemia is a key feature of the cluster. We aimed to assess whether the baseline insulin levels could predict the development of MS in a well characterised cohort of otherwise healthy adults who were followed over a five year period.

Methods

We identified 2, 350 Koreans subjects who did not have MS in 2003 and who were followed up in 2008. The subjects were divided into 4 groups according to the baseline quartiles of fasting insulin, and the predictors of the incidence of MS were analyzed using multivariate regression analysis.

Results

Over the follow up period, 8.5% of the cohort developed MS. However, 16.4% of the subjects in the highest quartile of the insulin levels developed MS. In a model that included gender, age, the smoking status, the exercise level, alcohol consumption and the systolic blood pressure, the subjects in the highest quartile of the insulin levels had more than a 5 times greater risk of developing MS compared that of the subjects in the lowest quartile. This predictive importance remained significant even after correcting for all the individual features of MS.

Conclusions

These data suggest that high baseline fasting insulin levels are independent determinants for the future development of MS.

Keywords:
Metabolic syndrome; hyperinsulinemia; insulin Resistance