Increased circulating calprotectin has been reported in obese subjects but not in association with measures of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes (T2D). The main aim of this study was to determine whether calprotectins in plasma and urine are associated with insulin resistance.
We performed both cross-sectional and longitudinal (diet-induced weight loss) studies.
Circulating calprotectin concentrations (ELISA), other inflammatory markers, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), and parameters of glucose and lipid metabolism were evaluated in 298 subjects (185 with normal (NGT) and 62 with impaired (IGT) glucose tolerance and 51 T2D subjects). Calprotectin was also evaluated in urine samples from 71 participants (50 NGT and 21 subjects with IGT). Insulin sensitivity (S I, Minimal Model) was determined in a subset of 156 subjects, and the effects of weight loss were investigated in an independent cohort of obese subjects (n=19).
Circulating calprotectin was significantly increased in IGT–T2D (independently of BMI) and positively associated with HOMA-IR, obesity measures, inflammatory markers, and parameters of glucose and lipid metabolism. Similar findings were reported for calprotectin concentrations in urine. In the subset of subjects, the association of calprotectin with S I was independent of BMI and age. In fact, S I together with C-reactive protein contributed to 27.4% of calprotectin variance after controlling for age and blood neutrophils count. Otherwise, weight loss led to decreased circulating calprotectin in parallel to fasting glucose and HOMA-IR.
These findings suggest that circulating and urinary concentrations of calprotectin are linked to chronic low-grade inflammation and insulin resistance beyond obesity.