Ten metabolites-based algorithm predicts the future development of type 2 diabetes in Chinese

Xiuli Su, Chloe Y.Y. Cheung, Junda Zhong, Yi Ru, Carol H.Y. Fong, Chi Ho Lee, Yan Liu, Cynthia K.Y. Cheung, Karen S.L. Lam*, Aimin Xu*, Zongwei Cai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is a heterogeneous metabolic disease with large variations in the relative contributions of insulin resistance and β-cell dysfunction across different glucose tolerance subgroups and ethnicities. A more precise yet feasible approach to categorize risk preceding T2D onset is urgently needed. This study aimed to identify potential metabolic biomarkers that could contribute to the development of T2D and investigate whether their impact on T2D is mediated through insulin resistance and β-cell dysfunction. Methods: A non-targeted metabolomic analysis was performed in plasma samples of 196 incident T2D cases and 196 age- and sex-matched non-T2D controls recruited from a long-term prospective Chinese community-based cohort with a follow-up period of ∼ 16 years. Results: Metabolic profiles revealed profound perturbation of metabolomes before T2D onset. Overall metabolic shifts were strongly associated with insulin resistance rather than β-cell dysfunction. In addition, 188 out of the 578 annotated metabolites were associated with insulin resistance. Bi-directional mediation analysis revealed putative causal relationships among the metabolites, insulin resistance and T2D risk. We built a machine-learning based prediction model, integrating the conventional clinical risk factors (age, BMI, TyG index and 2hG) and 10 metabolites (acetyl-tryptophan, kynurenine, γ-glutamyl-phenylalanine, DG(18:2/22:6), DG(38:7), LPI(18:2), LPC(P-16:0), LPC(P-18:1), LPC(P-20:0) and LPE(P-20:0)) (AUROC = 0.894, 5.6% improvement comparing to the conventional clinical risk model), that successfully predicts the development of T2D. Conclusions: Our findings support the notion that the metabolic changes resulting from insulin resistance, rather than β-cell dysfunction, are the primary drivers of T2D in Chinese adults. Metabolomes as a valuable phenotype hold potential clinical utility in the prediction of T2D.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Advanced Research
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Nov 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Medicine(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Insulin resistance
  • Metabolomics
  • Prediction
  • Type 2 diabetes


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