Metabolic Footprint, towards Understanding Type 2 Diabetes beyond Glycemia

Ana Lúcia F. Pina, Rita S. Patarrao, Rogerio T. Ribeiro, Carlos Penha-Goncalves, Joao F. Raposo, Luis Gardete-Correia, Rui Duarte, Jose M. Boavida, Jose L. Medina, Roberto Henriques, Maria P. Macedo

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Type 2 diabetes (T2D) heterogeneity is a major determinant of complications risk and treatment response. Using cluster analysis, we aimed to stratify glycemia within metabolic multidimensionality and extract pathophysiological insights out of metabolic profiling. We performed a cluster analysis to stratify 974 subjects (PREVADIAB2 cohort) with normoglycemia, prediabetes, or non-treated diabetes. The algorithm was informed by age, anthropometry, and metabolic milieu (glucose, insulin, C-peptide, and free fatty acid (FFA) levels during the oral glucose tolerance test OGTT). For cluster profiling, we additionally used indexes of metabolism mechanisms (e.g., tissue-specific insulin resistance, insulin clearance, and insulin secretion), non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and glomerular filtration rate (GFR). We found prominent heterogeneity within two optimal clusters, mainly representing normometabolism (Cluster-I) or insulin resistance and NAFLD (Cluster-II), at higher granularity. This was illustrated by sub-clusters showing similar NAFLD prevalence but differentiated by glycemia, FFA, and GFR (Cluster-II). Sub-clusters with similar glycemia and FFA showed dissimilar insulin clearance and secretion (Cluster-I). This work reveals that T2D heterogeneity can be captured by a thorough metabolic milieu and mechanisms profiling-metabolic footprint. It is expected that deeper phenotyping and increased pathophysiology knowledge will allow to identify subject's multidimensional profile, predict their progression, and treat them towards precision medicine.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2588
Pages (from-to)1-14
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • diabetes
  • heterogeneity
  • clustering
  • dysmetabolism


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