Physiol. Res. 51: 605-612, 2002



Does Magnesium Dysbalance Participate in the Development of Insulin Resistance in Early Stages of Renal Disease?


Institute of Preventive and Clinical Medicine and 1Derer's Hospital, Bratislava, Slovak Republic

Received September 10, 2001
Accepted May 22, 2002

We investigated the potential role of magnesium (Mg) dysbalance in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance (IR) in patients with mildly-to-moderately decreased renal function (creatinine: 142.8±11.0 mmol/l). The data were compared to those of 8 age- and sex-matched healthy controls (CTRL). The standard oral glucose tolerance test (oGTT) was performed in 61 patients. Twenty-two patients were classified as IR according to their values on fasting and after-load immunoreactive insulin concentrations. Serum and total erythrocyte Mg (tErMg) (atomic absorption spectro-photometry) and free erythrocyte Mg (fErMg) concentrations (31P NMR spectroscopy) were determined prior to and two hours after the glucose load. Ten out of 39 insulin-sensitive (IS) patients, but only one out of 22 insulin-resistant (IR) patients, had a low basal fErMg concentration (<162.2 mmol/l, c2, p<0.01). IR patients had higher serum Mg, total erythrocyte Mg and bound erythrocyte Mg (bErMg) concentrations (both before and after glucose load) when compared with the IS group. Both groups responded to the glucose load with a significant decrease in serum Mg concentration (within the normal range), while the IR group also exhibited a decline in tErMg and bErMg. The mean sum of insulin needed to metabolize the same glucose load correlated positively with tErMg (r=0.545, p<0.01) and bErMg (r=0.560, p<0.01) in the IR patients. It is concluded that, at an early stage of renal dysfunction, IR is not associated with the decline in free erythrocyte Mg concentration, but the magnesium handling in red blood cells is altered.

Key words
31P NMR spectroscopy · Erythrocyte · Magnesium · Insulin resistance · Obesity · Kidney Disease

Reprint requests
K. Šebeková, MD. PhD.; Institute of Preventive and Clinical Medicine, Limbová 14, 833 01 Bratislava, Slovak Republic. Fax: +421-2-59369170. E-mail:

© 2002 by the Institute of Physiology, Czech Academy of Sciences

ISSN 0862 - 8408

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