It is well established that diabetic patients with poor glycemic control have increased susceptibility to infections, but glucose levels have not been directly associated with this increase. The assessment of the effects of glycosylated hemoglobin (A1 c) on the body’s ability to fight infections may be useful directly in establishing a link between elevated blood sugar and the risk of infections. A total of 127 subjects in Heart Pilot Study (HPS), sub-study of the Adventist Health Study 2 (AHS-2) completed a lifestyle, medical and food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) at baseline between 2013 and 2014. The A1 c and phagocytic index (PI) were measured in the same blood sample and their associations were assessed using linear regression. Mean blood glucose (MBG) was estimated based on A1 c levels using a standard formula. Three levels of MBG were used to compare prediabetic and diabetic ranges to the normal range. The PI is the average number of bacteria in the cytoplasm of 50 neutrophils, manually counted under a light microscope after the whole blood was briefly exposed to a standard dose of bacteria and stained. In multivariable analysis, we found that MBG in the prediabetic (117 to137 mg/dL) and diabetic (>137 mg/dL) ranges were associated with 12.9% (b= -0.129, 95% CI: -0.30, 0.05) and 20.4% decrease in PI (b= -0.204, 95% CI: -0.592, 0.184) compared to that, observed among those with normal MBG (p for trend=0.119). Elevated MBG levels contribute a decrease in the PI among those in the prediabetic and diabetic range compared to the normal range. Although our findings were not quite statistically significant due to low power which are clinically relevant in line with observations of an increased infections among diabetics. Further research on larger populations is needed.
Key words: A1 c, hemoglobin A1 c, phagocytosis, neutrophils, phagocytic index, diabetes, infection.
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