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Insulin resistance in type 2 diabetic youth

Mizokami-Stout, Kara; Cree-Green, Melanie; Nadeau, Kristen J.

Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes and Obesity: August 2012 - Volume 19 - Issue 4 - p 255–262
doi: 10.1097/MED.0b013e3283557cd5

Purpose of review This review focuses on recent literature on insulin resistance in youth with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Insulin resistance is associated with a variety of cardiometabolic problems leading to increased morbidity and mortality across the lifespan.

Recent findings Functional pancreatic β-cell changes play a role in the transition from obesity to impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). Insulin resistance drives islet cell upregulation, manifested by elevated glucagon and c-peptide levels, early in the transition to IGT. Surrogate measurements of insulin resistance and insulin secretion exist but their accuracy compared to clamp data is imperfect. Recent large longitudinal studies provide detailed information on the progression from normoglycemia to T2DM and on the phenotype of T2DM youth. Defining prediabetes and T2DM remains a challenge in youth. Lifestyle interventions do not appear as effective in children as in adults. Metformin remains the only oral hypoglycemic agent approved for T2DM in youth.

Summary New insights exist regarding the conversion from insulin resistance to T2DM, measurement of insulin resistance and phenotypes of insulin resistance youth, but more information is needed. Surrogate measurements of insulin resistance, additional treatment options for insulin resistance and individualization of treatment options for T2DM adolescents in particular require further investigation.

Division of Endocrinology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado Denver and the Children's Hospital Colorado, Denver, Colorado, USA

Correspondence to Kristen J. Nadeau, Department of Endocrinology, University of Colorado Denver, Box 265, 13123 E Col. fax, Aurora, CO 80045, USA. Tel: +1 720 777 6128; e-mail:

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