Low insulin sensitivity is closely related to both cardiovascular diseases and diabetes development. Still, correlates of insulin sensitivity have mainly been examined in cross-sectional studies. As far as we are aware, the longitudinal stability of insulin sensitivity in young men is largely unknown. We aimed for the first time to examine both the stability (tracking) and longitudinal predictors of future insulin sensitivity in healthy young men with and without a family history of diabetes or hypertension.
We performed a 17-year follow-up study of a cohort of 100 healthy young men. Cardiovascular risk markers, including insulin sensitivity measured by the gold standard method – hyperinsulinaemic isoglycaemic glucose clamp – were examined both at baseline and at follow-up.
Baseline insulin sensitivity showed no significant correlation with insulin sensitivity at follow-up, whereas all other measured cardiovascular risk markers had significant correlation (tracking coefficients 0.4–0.7). In multiple regression analyses, family history of hypertension and baseline triglycerides remained the negative predictors of future insulin sensitivity. This was driven by the strong correlations in men with family history of diabetes.
Our data suggest that clamp-derived insulin sensitivity is not a stable feature in young men, and that family history of hypertension and baseline triglycerides were associated with future insulin sensitivity, especially in men with a family history of diabetes, and irrespective of blood pressure status 17 years earlier. These findings provide further insight into the development of insulin sensitivity and related diseases.