It is widely known that inflammation is related to type 2 diabetes (T2D), but few studies have shown a direct relationship between the immune system and T2D using a reliable biomarker. Neutrophil:lymphocyte ratio (NLR) is an easy-to-analyze inflammation biomarker, but few studies have assessed the relationship between NLR and T2D. In order to evaluate how NLR is related to T2D, we designed a large-scale cross-sectional and prospective cohort study in an adult population.
Subjects and methods
Participants were recruited from the Tianjin Medical University General Hospital-Health Management Centre. Both a baseline cross-sectional (n=87 686) and a prospective (n=38 074) assessment were performed. Participants without a history of T2D were followed up for ∼6 years (with a median follow-up of 2.7 years). Adjusted logistic and Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to assess relationships between the quintiles of NLR and T2D (covariates: age, sex, BMI, smoking status, drinking status, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and family history of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, or diabetes).
The prevalence and incidence of T2D were 4.9% and 6.8/1000 person-years respectively. The adjusted odds ratio and hazard ratio (95% CI) of the highest NLR quintile were 1.34 (1.21, 1.49) and 1.39 (1.09, 1.78) (both P for trend <0.01) respectively as compared to the lowest quintile of NLR. Leukocyte, neutrophil, and lymphocyte counts do not significantly predict the eventual development of T2D.
The present study demonstrates that NLR is related to the prevalence and incidence of T2D, and it suggests that NLR may be an efficient and accurate prognostic biomarker for T2D.