Comprehensive assessment of serum lipidomic aberrations before type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) onset has remained lacking in Han Chinese. We evaluated changes in lipid coregulation antecedent to T2DM and identified novel lipid predictors for T2DM in individuals with normal glucose regulation (NGR).
In the discovery study, we tested 667 baseline serum lipids in subjects with incident diabetes and propensity score–matched control subjects (n = 200) from a prospective cohort comprising 3,821 Chinese adults with NGR. In the validation study, we tested 250 lipids in subjects with incident diabetes and matched control subjects (n = 724) from a pooled validation cohort of 14,651 individuals with NGR covering five geographical regions across China. Differential correlation network analyses revealed perturbed lipid coregulation antecedent to diabetes. The predictive value of a serum lipid panel independent of serum triglycerides and 2-h postload glucose was also evaluated.
At the level of false-discovery rate <0.05, 38 lipids, including triacylglycerols (TAGs), lyso-phosphatidylinositols, phosphatidylcholines, polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA)–plasmalogen phosphatidylethanolamines (PUFA-PEps), and cholesteryl esters, were significantly associated with T2DM risk in the discovery and validation cohorts. A preliminary study found most of the lipid predictors were also significantly associated with the risk of prediabetes. Differential correlation network analysis revealed that perturbations in intraclass (i.e., non–PUFA-TAG and PUFA-TAGs) and interclass (i.e., TAGs and PUFA-PEps) lipid coregulation preexisted before diabetes onset. Our lipid panel further improved prediction of incident diabetes over conventional clinical indices.
These findings revealed novel changes in lipid coregulation existing before diabetes onset and expanded the current panel of serum lipid predictors for T2DM in normoglycemic Chinese individuals.