An Atypical Form of Diabetes Among Individuals With Low BMI

Eric Lontchi-Yimagou, Riddhi Dasgupta, Shajith Anoop, Sylvia Kehlenbrink, Sudha Koppaka, Akankasha Goyal, Padmanaban Venkatesan, Roshan Livingstone, Kenny Ye, Aaron Chapla, Michelle Carey, Arun Jose, Grace Rebekah, Anneka Wickramanayake, Mini Joseph, Priyanka Mathias, Anjali Manavalan, Mathews Edatharayil Kurian, Mercy Inbakumari, Flory ChristinaDaniel Stein, Nihal Thomas, Meredith Hawkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE Diabetes among individuals with low BMI (<19 kg/m2) has been recognized for >60 years as a prevalent entity in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) and was formally classified as “malnutrition-related diabetes mellitus” by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1985. Since the WHO withdrew this category in 1999, our objective was to define the metabolic characteristics of these individuals to establish that this is a distinct form of diabetes. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS State-of-the-art metabolic studies were used to characterize Indian individuals with “low BMI diabetes” (LD) in whom all known forms of diabetes were excluded by immunogenetic analysis. They were compared with demographically matched groups: a group with type 1 diabetes (T1D), a group with type 2 diabetes (T2D), and a group without diabetes. Insulin secretion was assessed by C-peptide deconvolution. Hepatic and peripheral insulin sensitivity were analyzed with stepped hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic pancreatic clamp studies. Hepatic and myocellular lipid contents were assessed with1H-nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. RESULTS The total insulin secretory response was lower in the LD group in comparison with the lean group without diabetes and the T2D group. Endogenous glucose production was significantly lower in the LD group than the T2D group (mean ± SEM 0.50 ± 0.1 vs. 0.84 ± 0.1 mg/kg · min, respectively; P < 0.05). Glucose uptake was significantly higher in the LD group in comparison with the T2D group (10.1 ± 0.7 vs. 4.2 ± 0.5 mg/kg · min; P < 0.001). Visceral adipose tissue and hepatocellular lipids were significantly lower in LD than in T2D. CONCLUSIONS These studies are the first to demonstrate that LD individuals in LMICs have a unique metabolic profile, suggesting that this is a distinct entity that warrants further investigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1428-1437
Number of pages10
JournalDiabetes care
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing


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