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Whether the insulin resistance commonly observed in patients with inflammatory arthritis is a disease-specific feature and/or is limited to a disease phase (i.e., it occurs only during phases of high disease activity) is unknown. Fifty-three rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and 44 psoriatic arthritis (PsA) patients were recruited consecutively along with 194 controls matched for age, sex and body mass index for a case-control study. All underwent an oral glucose tolerance test, the results of which were analysed to derive the following indexes: homeostatic model of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), insulin sensitivity index (ISI) and early insulin sensitivity index (EISI). These data were related to anthropometric, clinical and laboratory findings. Metabolic parameters of patients and controls were similar. Neither inflammatory markers nor disease activity scores were related to glucose metabolism for the generality of RA and PsA patients; however, by restricting the analysis to the subset of RA patients with residual disease activity, an association emerged between erythrocyte sedimentation rate, on the one hand, and fasting insulin (β=0.46, p=0.047) and HOMA-IR (β=0.44, p=0.02), on the other. Moreover, C-reactive protein (CRP) levels were associated with plasma glucose and insulin levels measured 120 min after the glucose load (β=0.91, p=0.0003 and β=0.77, p=0.0006, respectively); ISI and EISI were predicted by CRP (β=-0.79, p=0.0006; β=-0.80, p=0.0001, respectively). The same did not hold true for PsA patients. The association between systemic inflammation and insulin resistance indexes is a feature of RA with residual disease activity, not a universal feature of inflammatory arthritides.