Seasonal variations of insulin sensitivity from a euglycemic insulin clamp in elderly men

  • Lars Berglund
  • Christian Berne
  • Kurt Svärdsudd
  • Hans Garmo
  • Håkan Melhus
  • Björn Zethelius


Introduction. Seasonal variations in hemoglobin-A1c have been reported in diabetic patients, but the underlying mechanisms have not been elucidated.

Aims. To study if insulin sensitivity, insulin secretion, and fasting plasma glucose showed seasonal variations in a Swedish population-based cohort of elderly men.

Methods. Altogether 1117 men were investigated with a euglycemic insulin clamp and measurements of fasting plasma glucose and insulin secretion after an oral glucose tolerance test. Values were analyzed in linear regression models with an indicator variable for winter/summer season and outdoor temperature as predictors.

Results. During winter, insulin sensitivity (M/I, unit = 100 mg min-1 kg-1/(mU L-1)) was 11.0% lower (4.84 versus 5.44, P = 0.0003), incremental area under the insulin curve was 16.4% higher (1167 versus 1003 mU/L, P = 0.007). Fasting plasma glucose was, however, not statistically significantly different (5.80 versus 5.71 mmol/L, P = 0.28) compared to the summer season. There was an association between outdoor temperature and M/I (0.57 units increase (95% CI 0.29–0.82, P < 0.0001) per 10C increase of outdoor temperature) independent of winter/summer season. Adjustment for lifestyle factors, type 2 diabetes, and medication did not alter these results.

Conclusions. Insulin sensitivity showed seasonal variations with lower values during the winter and higher during the summer season. Inverse compensatory variations of insulin secretion resulted in only minor variations of fasting plasma glucose. Insulin sensitivity was associated with outdoor temperature. These phenomena should be further investigated in diabetic patients.


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How to Cite
Berglund L., Berne C., Svärdsudd K., Garmo H., Melhus H., & Zethelius B. (2011). Seasonal variations of insulin sensitivity from a euglycemic insulin clamp in elderly men. Upsala Journal of Medical Sciences, 117(1), 35-40.
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