It has been reported that beta cell function progressively declines in patients with type 2 diabetes. The objective of this study was to assess the effect of obesity on declining beta cell function after diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. We conducted a cross-sectional study of 689 consecutive subjects with type 2 diabetes who were admitted to our hospital from 2000 to 2007. Fasting and postprandial serum C-peptide immunoreactivity (CPR) and urinary CPR levels had been measured during admission. The subjects were stratified according to BMI and time since diagnosis. CPR index was calculated as CPR (ng/mL) / plasma glucose (mg/dL) x 100. All CPR measurements were significantly higher in the 263 obese (BMI ≥25) subjects compared to the 426 lean subjects (BMI <25). There was a significant negative correlation between CPR indices and duration of diabetes, suggesting a progressive decline in beta cell function after diagnosis of type 2 diabetes. However, this decline was more apparent in obese subjects (postprandial CPR index 0.059/year) compared to lean subjects (0.025/year). The significant difference in serum CPR indices between the lean and obese subjects was lost in subjects more than 10 years after diagnosis. In conclusion, our observations suggest that beta cell function shows a greater progressive decline in obese subjects than in lean subjects with type 2 diabetes. Treatment of obesity may be an important strategy to preserve beta cell function in patients with type 2 diabetes.
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