EGIR Group research activity

The main activity of the European Group for the study of Insulin Resistance (EGIR) is continuous collaboration between members in various forms. The annual meetings act as the focus for the EGIR network and allow an exchange of views and presentation of state-of-the-art research by experts in the field of insulin resistance.

The ‘EGIR’ database

The first scientific endeavor of EGIR was a data-pooling project started in the mid-1990s when 21 clinical research centres from across Europe pooled their data on in vivo insulin action obtained in non-diabetic, normotensive subjects of any age and body mass index with the use of the hyperinsulinaemic euglycaemic clamp technique, the “gold standard” for the measurement of insulin resistance. The result of this first project was the creation of the largest clamp database in the world. From this data collection, it was possible to analyse the relation of insulin resistance to age [1, 2], lipolysis [3], arterial blood pressure [4], obesity [5], and thermogenesis [6]. Additional information was extracted with respect to the influence of family history of diabetes on insulin sensitivity [7], the impact of insulin resistance on serum lipid levels [8], and the relationship between peripheral insulin action and hepatic glucose production [9].

The ‘EGIR definition’ of the metabolic syndrome

Members of EGIR have been productive in contributing to the literature on the metabolic syndrome (10-13) (or the ‘insulin resistance’ syndrome or in its original guise as given by Reaven ‘syndrome X’). Following discussions on the definition of the ‘metabolic syndrome’, the EGIR group criticized the syndrome definition published in 1998 by the WHO Expert Committee on the “diagnosis and classification of diabetes”. EGIR proposed a more practical definition, following along the lines of the WHO definition, this widely quoted publication has become known as the EGIR definition of the metabolic syndrome (14).

The RISC Study

Today EGIR is highly active in research into insulin resistance and has created a task force aimed at testing whether the presence of insulin resistance in healthy individuals confers an enhanced risk for the development of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. In 2001 the EGIR project Relationship between Insulin Sensitivity and Cardiovascular Disease (RISC) was awarded funding by the EU 5th Framework Program (EU contract QLG1-CT-2001-01252) to resolve the question of whether insulin resistance is a risk factor for progression of carotid artery intima-media thickness (an index of cardiovascular disease) independently of other risk factors (lipids, body weight, haemostatic and inflammatory factors etc). The RISC Project started in February 2002 and is now completed.


EGIR Publications

  1. Ferrannini E, Vichi S, Beck-Nielsen H, Laakso M, Paolisso G, Smith U on behalf of EGIR (1996) Insulin action and age. Diabetes 45:947-953 see PubMed
  2. Iozzo P, Beck-Nielsen H, Laakso M, Smith U, Yki-Jarvinen H, Ferrannini E on behalf of EGIR (1999) Independent influence of age on basal insulin secretion in nondiabetic humans. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 84:863-868 see PubMed
  3. Ferrannini E, Camastra S, Coppack SW, Fliser D, Golay A, Mitrakou A on behalf of EGIR (1997) Insulin action and non-esterified fatty acids. Proceedings of The Nutrition Society 56:753-761 see PubMed
  4. Ferrannini E, Natali A, Capaldo B, Lehtovirta M, Jacob S, Yki-Jrvinen H on behalf of EGIR (1997) Insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia, and blood pressure. Role of age and obesity. Hypertension 30:1144-1149 see PubMed
  5. Ferrannini E, Natali A, Bell P, Cavallo-Perin P, Lalic N, Mingrone G on behalf of EGIR (1997) Insulin resistance and hypersecretion in obesity. Journal of Clinical Investigation 100:1166-1173 see PubMed
  6. Camastra S, Bonora E, Del Prato S, Rett K, Weck M, Ferrannini E on behalf of EGIR (1999) Effect of obesity and insulin resistance on resting and glucose-induced thermogenesis in man. International Journal of Obesity 23:1307-1313 see PubMed
  7. Vaag A, Lehtovirta M, Thye-Ronn P, Groop L (2001) Metabolic impact of a family history of type 2 diabetes. Results of a European multicentre study (EGIR). Diabetic Medicine 18:533-540 see PubMed
  8. Baldeweg SE, Golay A, Natali A, Balkau B, Del Prato S, Coppack SW on behalf of EGIR (2000) Insulin resistance, lipid and fatty acid concentration in 867 healthy Europeans. European Journal of Clinical Investigation 30:45-52 see PubMed
  9. Natali A, Toschi E, Camastra S, Gastaldelli A, Groop L, Ferrannini E, on behalf of EGIR (2000) Determinants of post-absorptive endogenous glucose output in non-diabetic subjects. Diabetologia 43:1266-1272 see PubMed
  10. Beck-Nielsen H on behalf of EGIR (1999) General characteristics of the insulin resistance syndrome. Drugs 58[Suppl 1]:7-10 see PubMed
  11. Del Prato S, Maran A, Beck-Nielsen H on behalf of EGIR (1999) The plurimetabolic syndrome in the European population: the experience of the European Group for the Study of Insulin Resistance. In: Crepaldi G, Tiengo A, Del Prato S (eds) Insulin resistance, metabolic diseases and diabetic complications. Elsevier Science, pp 25-30.
  12. Ferrannini E, Balkau B (2002) Insulin: in search of a syndrome. Diabetic Medicine 19: 724-729 see PubMed
  13. Balkau B et al (2002) Frequency of the WHO metabolic syndrome in European cohorts, and an alternative definition of an insulin resistance syndrome. Diabetes Metabolism (Paris) 20: 364-376 see PubMed
  14. Balkau B, Charles MA (1999) Comment on the provisional report from the WHO consultation. Diabetic Medicine 16:442-443 see PubMed