The primary purpose of the current study was to test the hypothesis that the proinsulin–to–C-peptide (PI-to-CP) ratio, as an index of proinsulin secretion, would be higher and associated with indices of β-cell function in African American adults relative to European American adults without type 2 diabetes.


Participants were 114 African American and European American adult men and women. A 2-h oral glucose tolerance test was conducted to measure glucose, insulin, C-peptide, and proinsulin and derive indices of β-cell response to glucose. The Matsuda index was calculated as a measure of insulin sensitivity. The disposition index (DI), the product of insulin sensitivity and β-cell response, was calculated for each phase of β-cell responsivity. Pearson correlations were used to investigate the relationship of the PI-to-CP ratio with each phase of [beta symbol]-cell response (basal, Φb; dynamic, Φd; static, Φs; total, Φtot), disposition indices (DId, DIs, DItot), and insulin sensitivity. Multiple linear regression analysis was used to evaluate independent contributions of race, BMI, and glucose tolerance status on PI-to-CP levels before and after adjustment for insulin sensitivity.


African American participants had higher fasting and 2-h PI-to-CP ratios. The fasting PI-to-CP ratio was positively associated with Φb, and the fasting PI-to-CP ratio and 2-h PI-to-CP ratio were inversely associated with DId and insulin sensitivity only in African American participants.


The PI-to-CP ratio could be useful in identifying African American individuals at highest risk for β-cell dysfunction and ultimately type 2 diabetes.

This article contains supplementary material online at https://doi.org/10.2337/figshare.21922860.

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