Patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) are known to have insulin resistance. Treatment with EPO is associated with improvement in insulin sensitivity in uremic patients. The aim of this study was to compare insulin sensitivity and pancreatic B cell function in adult non-diabetic uremic hemodialysis patients treated with or without rHuEPO.
Three groups of subjects were included to the study: hemodialysis patients treated with rHuEPO [EPO(+) group] or without rHuEPO [EPO(-) group], and healthy controls. Anthropometrical parameters, lipid levels, fasting glucose and insulin levels were measured in all subjects. Homeostasis Model Assessment (HOMA) was used to compare insulin sensitivity. ANOVA, independent t-test, and Pearson correlation were used for statistical analysis.
Mean insulin level of control group (20.04 +/- 7.2 pmol/l) was significantly lower than EPO(+) group (p < 0.04) and EPO(-) group (p < 0.0001). HOMA-(%B) levels in the EPO(+) group were significantly lower than in the EPO(-) group (106 +/- 42, 140 +/- 63 respectively, p < 0.02). HOMA-(%B) levels in the control group (66 +/- 17) were significantly lower than in the EPO(+) and EPO(-) group (p < 0.005 and p < 0.0001 respectively). HOMA-(%S) levels in the EPO(+) groups was significantly higher than in the EPO(-) group (91 +/- 40, 56 +/- 26, respectively; p < 0.01). HOMA-(%S) levels of control group (125 +/- 24) was significantly higher than EPO(+) and EPO(-) groups (p < 0.02, p < 0.0001 respectively). We found a positive correlation between duration of erythropoietin treatment and insulin sensitivity (r = 0.484, p < 0.002).
Firstly, patients treated with EPO are insulin sensitive compared to patients not treated with EPO. Secondly, duration of erythropoietin treatment is positively correlated with insulin sensitivity in hemodialysis patients.