Plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI-1) activity is elevated in Asian and Caucasian subjects with non-insulin-dependent (type 2) diabetes but not in those with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) or non-diabetic Asians.Diabet Med 1996; 13(1):59-64DM
In order to study the plasminogen activator inhibitor activity (PAI-1) in subjects at different risk of non-insulin-dependent diabetes and ischaemic heart disease we examined 89 subjects with diet controlled NIDDM (49 Caucasian, 40 Asian), 29 with impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) (13 Caucasian, 16 Asian), and 149 with normal glucose tolerance (67 Caucasian, 82 Asian). Diabetes was diagnosed by WHO criteria and highly specific, monoclonal antibody-based assays were used to measure insulin, intact proinsulin, and des 31,32 proinsulin. Subjects with NIDDM were significantly more obese, had more central distribution of obesity, higher fasting plasma specific insulin concentrations (NIDDM median 74 pmol l-1 vs IGT 41 pmol l-1, p < 0.01 and vs normals 34 pmol l-1, p < 0.001) and higher PAI-1 activity than normals and those with IGT (NIDDM 23.0 +/- 6.9 vs IGT 16.8 +/- 5.0, p < 0.001 and vs normals 17.1 +/- 6.9 AU ml-1, p < 0.001). However, PAI-1 activity was not significantly different between Asian and Caucasian normals (17.5 +/- 7.3 vs 16.5 +/- 6.4 AU ml-1, p = ns) and diabetic (22.8 +/- 7.3 vs 23.1 +/- 6.6 AU ml-1, p = ns) subjects. In addition to relationships with obesity and plasma triglyceride, PAI-1 activity, after controlling for age, sex, body mass index, and waist-hip ratio, was related to fasting insulin (partial r = 0.22, p < 0.001), intact proinsulin (partial r = 0.36, p < 0.001), and des 31,32 proinsulin concentrations (partial r = 0.33, p < 0.001) as measured by highly specific assays. The association of PAI-1 with diabetes was weakened but remained statistically significant (p = 0.042) after controlling for age, sex, ethnicity, obesity, plasma triglyceride, and all insulin-like molecules. We conclude that, although PAI-1 activity is raised in subjects with diet-treated NIDDM, it is normal in subjects with IGT and non-diabetic Asians, populations at high risk of NIDDM and ischaemic heart disease. Raised PAI-1 activity may play an important role in the pathogenesis of macrovascular disease in subjects with NIDDM, but is unlikely to explain excess risk of ischaemic heart disease in Asians and those with impaired glucose tolerance.