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Impact of Mean Cell Hemoglobin on Hb [A.sub.1c]-Defined Glycemia Status.

Hemoglobin (Hb) [7] [A.sub.1c] is a measure of time-averaged glycemia. High Hb [A.sub.1c] levels are strongly predictive of diabetic complications (1, 2), and possibly also predictive of cardiovascular morbidity among both diabetic and nondiabetic patients (3, 4). The American Diabetes Association (ADA) regards Hb [A.sub.1c] as a parameter that in the absence of abnormal red cell turnover allows diagnosis of diabetes and the screening of persons at high risk of diabetes (2). Conditions or events in which the mean age of red blood cells is altered include blood loss, blood transfusions, anemia, chronic kidney or liver disease, ingestion of high doses of vitamin C, erythropoietin treatment, and hematological conditions such as sickle-cell disease (5--7). Unusually low Hb [A.sub.1c] levels are found when mean erythrocyte life span is shortened, as by glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency; unusually high levels when erythrocyte life span is lengthened, as by deficiency of vitamin B12, folate, or iron; and both high and low levels may be found among patients with end-stage kidney disease (8). However, even among hematologically normal people, erythrocyte life span varies sufficiently to cause clinically relevant differences in Hb [A.sub.1c] (9).

Most studies of the impact of such effects have investigated the influence of iron deficiency on the Hb [A.sub.1c]-based diagnosis of diabetes and prediabetes in community samples, finding that iron deficiency raises Hb [A.sub.1c] levels, without any concomitant rise in glucose indices, even in the absence of anemia (10--15). A few studies have also reported negative correlation between Hb [A.sub.1c] on the one hand and, on the other, hemoglobin, mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH), and mean corpuscular volume (MCV) (7, 14, 15). However, although the existence of these latter correlations is generally acknowledged, especially in relation to the use of Hb [A.sub.1c] for diagnosis of diabetes (16), the magnitude of their consequences for diagnosis and management of dysglycemic conditions--i.e., the proportion of patients that, because of these correlations, are misclassified by standard Hb [A.sub.1c] cutoffs--is uncertain. It is not even clear which hematological indices are most appropriate for identification of problematic patients.

In this study we investigated these issues in a large group of patients for whom determination of Hb [A.sub.1c] had been requested for any reason. Adjusting for the effects of other conditions known to alter Hb [A.sub.1c] levels, we determined the magnitude of the influence of hematological indices on the overstepping of the Hb [A.sub.1c] thresholds most commonly employed for diagnosis and management of diabetes and prediabetes.

Materials and Methods


The University Hospital Complex, Santiago de Compostela (Spain), is a tertiary center serving an almost exclusively white population of approximately 450000 people. Its diabetic outpatient clinics are attended by almost entirely local patients requiring insulin or oral antidiabetic drugs. The present retrospective study was approved by its Ethical Review Board.

The individuals initially included in the current retrospective study were all those patients aged [greater than or equal to] 18 years for whom an analytical profile consisting of (a) the glycemic parameters, Hb [A.sub.1c], and fasting glucose, (b) the hematological indices, hemoglobin, mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH), mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC), mean corpuscular volume (MCV), and erythrocyte count, and (c) the renal and hepatic indices, creatinine, estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), [gamma]-glutamyltransferase (GGT), bilirubin, and albumin was obtained between 2008 and 2013 inclusive (only the first such profile of each patient during this period was considered). Patients were excluded if they were acutely ill, had undergone blood transfusions <3 months before profiling, or were pregnant.

Patients with no previous diagnosis of dysglycemia were classified as diabetic, prediabetic, or normoglycemic in accordance with the American Diabetes Association (ADA) criteria (2). Patients with hemoglobin <12g/dL (women) or 13g/dL (men) were deemed to be anemic (17), and patients with AST [greater than or equal to] 30U/L or ALT [greater than or equal to] 31 U/L or GGT [greater than or equal to] 38 U/L or bilirubin > 1.20 mg/dL or albumin < 3.5g/dL were deemed to have liver disease.


Blood samples were collected in the morning following fasting for at least 8 hours; for any one patient, all samples were collected at the same visit. Hb [A.sub.1c] values referenced as per the Japanese Diabetes Society (JDS) and Japanese Society for Clinical Chemistry (JSCC) (Hb [A.sub.1c JDS/JSCC]) were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography in a Menarini Diagnostics HA 8160 analyzer. These JDS/JSCC-referenced Hb [A.sub.1c] values were converted to Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT)-aligned units in accordance with the US National Glycohemoglobin Standardization Program (NGSP) (17, 18). The interassay CV was 1.6% at an Hb [A.sub.1c] level of 5.9% (41 mmol/mol) and 0.9% at an Hb [A.sub.1c] level of 11% (97 mmol/mol).

Fasting glucose was measured in serum by the glucose oxidase peroxidase method. Serum creatinine, AST, ALT, GGT, and albumin were determined using standard kits on an Advia 2400 analyzer (Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics). eGFR was calculated using the Modification of Diet in Renal Disease formula (19). Also, estimated average glucose (eAG) was calculated based on Hb [A.sub.1c] (20). Hemoglobin, MCH, MCV, MCHC, and erythrocyte count were determined in an Advia 1200 counter (Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics). All analyses were performed on the day of collection in the Clinical Biochemistry Laboratory of the University Hospital Complex.


Data are presented as: means [+ or -] SDs for normally distributed variables; as medians, with first and third quartiles in parentheses for skewed continuous variables; and as numbers with percentages in parentheses for categorical variables. Comparisons between distribution locations were performed using ANOVA or Mann-Whitney U-tests, as appropriate. Relationships between Hb [A.sub.1c] and other variables were investigated via Pearson and partial correlation analyses and by stepwise multivariate linear regression. Additionally, patients were classified by hemoglobin, MCH and MCV deciles for evaluation of relationships between these variables and Hb [A.sub.1c] or fasting glucose using a general linear model with adjustment for age, sex, creatinine, and liver disease.

The influence of increasing MCH or MCV on the odds ofexceeding the Hb [A.sub.1c] thresholds most commonly employed for diagnosis of diabetes [6.5% (48 mmol/ mol)] and prediabetes [5.7% (39 mmol/mol)], and as goals in management [7% (53 mmol/mol) and 8% (64 mmol/mol)], was investigated using multiple logistic regression with and without adjustment for age, sex, hemoglobin, creatinine, and liver disease.

The criterion for statistical significance was P < 0.05. All statistical analyses were performed using SPSS17 (SPSS Inc.).


Of the 25 818 patients initially considered for the study, 3974 were excluded: 1617 for pregnancy, 473 for acute illness, and 1884 for lack of a requisite analytical value; none had had any blood transfusions in the relevant period. The clinical characteristics of the remaining 21 844 are summarized in Table 1. None had been reported to have variant hemoglobins or thalassemia. Of the 6505 with no prior diagnosis of dysglycemia, 180 were classified on the basis of their Hb [A.sub.1c] values as diabetic, and 1535 as prediabetic patients.

The hematological index most closely correlated with Hb [A.sub.1c] in the whole study group was MCH, followed by MCV; in both cases the correlation was negative and was even more negative when adjustment was made for age, creatinine and fasting glucose (see Table 1 in the Data Supplement that accompanies the online version of this article at content/vol62/issue12). Similar results held for men, women, patients with anemia, patients without anemia, and normoglycemic, prediabetic and diabetic patients with the following exceptions: for diabetic patients MCV was more closely correlated with Hb [A.sub.1c] than was MCH before adjustment for age, creatinine and fasting glucose; for anemic patients the same was true both before and after adjustment. Among normoglycemic patients, erythrocyte count was correlated with Hb [A.sub.1c] almost as strongly as MCV after adjustment; among prediabetic patients both erythrocyte count and MCHC showed considerable correlation with Hb [A.sub.1c] after adjustment; and among the three glycemia classes the correlation of Hb [A.sub.1c] with MCH, MCV, and erythrocyte count decreased in the order normoglycemia > prediabetes > diabetes. No correlation was found between any of these hematological indices and fasting glucose.

Some 26.1% of patients were anemic (Table 1). Anemia was associated with significant rises in Hb [A.sub.1c] of about 0.15% among men, women and patients without kidney disease, and about 0.3% among patients with liver disease, but was not associated with any significant alteration of Hb [A.sub.1c] among patients with kidney disease or patients without liver disease (see online Supplemental Table 2). Regardless of anemia status, men did not differ from women in regard to Hb [A.sub.1c], but kidney disease was associated with significantly increased Hb [A.sub.1c], and so was liver disease, except among nonanemic patients.

In the whole study group and in the subgroups of diabetic, prediabetic, and normoglycemic patients, the proportions with MCH <28 pg were, respectively, 14.1%, 15.1%, 13.3%, and 12.9%; and the proportions with MCH >32 pg, respectively, 15.3%, 13.9%, 16.6%, and 16.8%. In the whole study group and in the subgroups defined by sex, anemia, kidney disease, and liver disease, patients with MCH < 28 pg had significantly higher Hb [A.sub.1c] levels than those with MCH [greater than or equal to] 28 pg, and patients with MCH [less than or equal to] 32 pg had significantly higher Hb [A.sub.1c] levels than patients with MCH >32 pg (see online Supplemental Table 3). Among patients with MCH <28 pg, Hb [A.sub.1c] levels were significantly affected by kidney and liver disease but not by sex or anemia, while among patients with MCH >32 pg Hb [A.sub.1c] levels were significantly affected by sex and kidney disease but not by liver disease or anemia.

The top panel of Table 2 shows, for each interdecile range of MCH, the number of patients in that range, the proportion of those patients that were female, anemic, with kidney disease and with liver disease, and the means and standard deviations of their hemoglobin, Hb [A.sub.1c], estimated average glucose (eAG) and fasting glucose values. Mean Hb [A.sub.1c] decreased in a progressive fashion from 6.8% (51 mmol/mol) for patients with MCH below the first decile (27.55 pg) to 6.0% (42 mmol/mol) for those with MCH above the ninth decile (32.55 pg). Mean fasting glucose remained fairly stable (134--136 mg/dL) until the seventh decile, and then declined slightly to 131 mg/dL above the ninth. Mean eAG, calculated from Hb [A.sub.1c] fell progressively from 148-138-140 mg/dL up until the seventh decile, and then fell further to 128 mg/dL above the ninth, making a total decrease of20 mg/dL as against the 5 mg/dL fall of fasting glucose. Regardless of the order in which variables were entered into a stepwise multivariate regression, this analysis identified fasting glucose, MCH and age as predictors of Hb [A.sub.1c], discarding the variables sex, hemoglobin concentration, MCV, MCHC, erythrocyte count, creatinine, and liver disease (although MCV was identified as a predictor if MCH was excluded from the analysis, in which case the influence of MCV on Hb [A.sub.1c] was similar to that of MCH when MCH was included); Hb [A.sub.1c] increased with fasting glucose and age, and decreased with increasing MCH (Table 3). After adjustment for sex, age, serum creatinine, and liver disease, mean Hb [A.sub.1c] in MCH interdecile intervals exhibited a significant negative gradient from 6.8% (51 mmol/mol) in the lowest to 6.0% (42 mmol/ mol) in the highest, and mean Hb [A.sub.1c] in MCV interdecile intervals a significant negative gradient from 6.8% in the lowest to 6.1% (43 mmol/mol) in the highest, but there was no Hb [A.sub.1c] gradient across hemoglobin interdecile intervals (Table 4). Nor was there any significant trend in mean fasting glucose across MCH, MCV, or hemoglobin interdecile intervals (results not shown).

The lower panel of Table 2 shows that 42.2% of the patients in the bottom tenth of the distribution of MCH had Hb [A.sub.1c] [greater than or equal to] 6.5% (48 mmol/mol), i.e., in the diabetic range, as against only 26.1% of those in the top tenth, a fall of 16.1% (P < 0.001). Contrariwise, the corresponding proportions of patients with Hb [A.sub.1c] in the normoglycemic range [<5.7% (39 mmol/mol)] were 31.5% and 51.8%, a rise of 20.3% (P < 0.001). By contrast, the corresponding differences for fasting glucose were statistically nonsignificant for both the diabetic range ([greater than or equal to] 126 mg/dL; P = 0.235) and the normoglycemic range (<100 mg/dL; P = 0.209). As regards glycemia control goals, the proportion of apparently well-controlled patients [Hb [A.sub.1c] <7% (53 mmol/mol)] rose from 66.5% to 79.7% between the bottom and top tenths of the MCH distribution, whereas the proportion of apparently illcontrolled patients [Hb [A.sub.1c] [greater than or equal to] 8% (64 mmol/mol)] fell from 20.4% to 12.3% (P < 0.001 in both cases).

As a consequence of the trends just noted, the MCH distributions of the groups of patients with discrepant Hb [A.sub.1c]-based and fasting-glucose-based diabetes statuses were skewed in opposite directions depending on the type of discrepancy (Fig. 1). Thus 21.1% of patients who had diabetes according to Hb [A.sub.1c] ([greater than or equal to] 6.5%) but not according to fasting glucose (<126 mg/dL) had MCH <28 pg, as against only 9.2% with MCH >32 pg. In contrast only 10.8% of those with diabetes diagnosed by fasting glucose but not by Hb [A.sub.1c] had MCH <28 pg, as against 19.7% with MCH >32 pg. Online Supplemental Fig. 1 shows that when the study group was cross-classified by the usual Hb [A.sub.1c]-based and fasting-glucose-based criteria for normoglycemia, prediabetes, and diabetes, the proportion of patients with MCH <28 pg increased with Hb [A.sub.1C] and fell with increasing fasting glucose, whereas the proportion of patients with MCH >32 pg showed the opposite trends.

Table 5 shows odds ratios per picogram increase in MCH and per femtoliter increase in MCV, for Hb [A.sub.1c] to equal or exceed the thresholds of 5.7%, 6.5%, 7%, and 8%. After adjustment for sex, age, fasting glucose, hemoglobin, creatinine and liver disease, the odds ofexceeding these thresholds decreased by 10%-14% for each picogram increase in MCH, and by 4% for each femtoliter increase in MCV.


The utility of Hb [A.sub.1c] measurements in clinical practice is limited by several nonglycemic influences on Hb [A.sub.1c], including several that affect erythrocyte turnover. The results of this study demonstrated that among patients for whom an Hb [A.sub.1c] determination is requested for any reason, the hematological parameters with the greatest effect on Hb [A.sub.1c] values independently of the glycemic environment, were MCH and MCV. From the lowest to the highest MCH interdecile interval, mean Hb [A.sub.1c] fell from 6.8% (51 mmol/mol) to 6.0% (43 mmol/mol), causing the proportion of Hb [A.sub.1c]--defined normoglycemic patients (Hb[A.sub.1c] <5.7%) to rise from 31.5% to 51.8% and the proportion of Hb [A.sub.1c]-defined diabetic patients to fall from 42.2% to 26.1%. Similar differences were obtained when examining the slightly larger extreme MCH groups defined by MCH <28 pg (14.1% of all patients) and MCH >32 pg (15.3% of all patients).

Previous studies have also reported negative correlation between Hb [A.sub.1c] and MCH, MCV, or MCHC among adults (12, 21), children (7), and premenopausal women (15). However, these other studies examined community populations from which persons with previously diagnosed diabetes were excluded.

Alterations in erythrocyte turnover, and consequent alteration of Hb [A.sub.1c] levels, can be caused by several common conditions, including iron deficiency, kidney failure, alcoholism, and chronic liver disease. In this study, a variation in Hb [A.sub.1c] of 0.7--0.8% across MCH or MCV values was maintained after making allowance for sex, age, kidney disease, or liver disease. Similarly, a recent study in which 87% of the participants were normoglycemic (21) found an Hb [A.sub.1c] difference of 0.5% between the extremes of MCHC (although in this study no adjustment for liver disease was made). In the present study, anemia was associated with an increase in units of Hb [A.sub.1c] of about 0.15% among men, women and patients without kidney disease, and about 0.3% among patients with liver disease, but examination of the stepwise regression process leading to the results displayed in Table 3 shows that the influence ofhemoglobin itselfwas overshadowed by that of MCH or MCV, as long as fasting glucose was included in the analysis (results not shown) and hemoglobin had no influence on Hb [A.sub.1c] after adjustment for sex, age, creatinine and liver disease (Table 5). Simmons and Hlaing (21) similarly found that hemoglobin had no influence on Hb [A.sub.1c] after adjustment for variables including sex, age and creatinine, and did not emerge as an independent predictor of Hb [A.sub.1c] in analyses including fasting glucose and MCHC.

In fact, the greatest deviation from the overall mean Hb [A.sub.1c] of 6.51% in this study was not found among patients with low MCH (<28 pg), whose mean Hb [A.sub.1c] was 0.26% higher, but among patients with MCH >32 pg (15.3% of all patients), whose mean Hb [A.sub.1c] of 6.16% was 0.35% lower than the overall mean despite 72% of the patients being male and 56% having liver disease, where both of the latter conditions tend to increase Hb [A.sub.1c] in the whole study group (see online Supplemental Table 2). In the top tenth of MCH values, mean MCH was even lower (6.09%) and the proportions that were male and had liver disease were even higher, 74.3% and 60.6%, respectively.

The fall in Hb [A.sub.1c] with increasing MCH resulted in only 31.5% of the patients with the lowest tenth of MCH values having Hb [A.sub.1c] <5.7% (cf. 51.8% of those with the highest tenth), whereas 42.2% had Hb [A.sub.1c] [greater than or equal to] 6.5% (cf. 26.1% of those with the highest tenth). With regard to glycemia management targets rather than diagnostic thresholds, an Hb [A.sub.1c] value [greater than or equal to] 8% was found in 20.4% of diabetic patients with MCH values below the first decile of all MCH values of diabetic patients, as against only 12.3% of those with MCH values among the highest tenth (results not shown). The fact that this latter difference, 8.1%, is only about half the difference of 16.1% between the proportions of patients with Hb [A.sub.1c] [greater than or equal to] 6.5% in the highest and lowest tenths of MCH values in the whole study group, together with the fact that Hb [A.sub.1c] is a little more closely correlated with MCH among normoglycemic patients than among diabetic or prediabetic patients after adjusting for age, fasting glucose and creatinine, suggests that the influence of MCH on Hb [A.sub.1c] decreases as glycemia increases.

The question arises as to what extent the observed relationship between Hb [A.sub.1c] and MCH is an effect of disease, for several pathologies that are not uncommon among hyperglycemic patients can cause low Hb [A.sub.1c]. Hemolytic anemia lowers Hb [A.sub.1c] levels because the resulting increased production of blood cells shortens the average erythrocyte life span and hence the exposure of hemoglobin to ambient glycemia (6, 22). In anemia of chronic disease, a number offactors can contribute to the lowering of Hb [A.sub.1c] levels, including impaired proliferation and differentiation of erythroid precursors, blunted erythropoietin response, and altered erythrocyte life span (23). In patients with chronic liver disease, anemia, portal hypertension, and variceal bleeding are common complications that can alter erythrocyte survival and lead to low Hb [A.sub.1c] levels (24). And in patients on hemodialysis, Hb [A.sub.1c] levels can be lowered due to altered erythrocyte survival, erythropoietin therapy, and blood transfusion (25). However, in this study the exclusion of participants with anemia, kidney disease, or liver disease lowered average Hb [A.sub.1c] levels (by about 0.1%) rather than raising them, and only lowered the difference between the groups with MCH <28 pg and >32 pg by 0.06%, to 0.55% (see online Supplemental Table 3). Among the 52.1% of patients with no kidney or liver disease (a group with an anemia rate of 16.8%), Hb [A.sub.1c] ranged from an average 6.6% among those below the lowest MCH decile to 6.1% among those above the highest, while fasting glucose rose only from 128-130 mg/dL; among the 47.9% of patients with kidney or liver disease (36.3% of whom were anemic), Hb [A.sub.1c] ranged from 6.1% to 7.0% and fasting glucose from 134-140 mg/dL as MCH fell from the highest to the lowest decile.

Both MCH and MCV decrease linearly during the life span of the red blood cell; loss of hemoglobin by the erythrocyte is attributable to its shedding hemoglobin-containing vesicles, and loss of volume to both vesicle shedding and loss of water (26, 27). Thus large differences in MCH and MCV can be caused by differences in mean erythrocyte age, and this, rather than differences in the rate of hemoglobin or volume loss appears to be the usual cause of such differences in MCH or MCV (26). Accordingly, the Hb [A.sub.1c] difference of 0.7-0.8% observed in this study between the extremes of the distributions of MCH and MCV seems likely to reflect a difference in mean erythrocyte age rather than a difference in glycemia (which is in any case belied by the fasting glucose data). In fact, it seems likely that several of the reported associations between Hb [A.sub.1c] and hematological parameters (7, 10, 16) may result from differences in MCH that in turn reflect differences in erythrocyte survival; for hemoglobin, MCHC, MCV, and erythrocyte count were among the variables adjusted for in the stepwise analysis that returned only fasting glucose, age, and MCH as determinants of Hb [A.sub.1c]. Our results therefore suggest that MCH, as an indirect measure of erythrocyte survival (9), can explain at least a large part of the reported discrepancies between the results of using Hb [A.sub.1c] and fasting glucose criteria for diagnosis of diabetes and prediabetes (18, 28-31).

This study, of course, had its weaknesses and limitations. Firstly, as regards the influence and variation of glycemia, our only direct glycemia measure was fasting glucose, which does not reflect mean glycemia. Thus our normoglycemic patients satisfied both the Hb [A.sub.1c] and fasting glucose criteria of normoglycemia, but did not necessarily satisfy the glucose tolerance criterion, which may have affected observed differences among apparently normoglycemic, prediabetic and diabetic patients. Secondly, the study was limited in that we had no direct measurement of patients' erythrocyte life span. On the other hand, the robustness of our conclusions as to the influence of MCH is supported by our large sample size, the uniformity of the laboratory measurements (all performed in a single laboratory using a single technique), and the internal consistency of our results.

We conclude that in the population studied (patients for whom Hb [A.sub.1c] determination is requested) the influence of MCH on Hb[A.sub.1c]: (a) largely explains the discrepancies between the results of using Hb [A.sub.1c]-based or glucose-based criteria for diagnosis of diabetes and prediabetes that have been observed in this study (see Table 2) and in previous studies; and (b) results in considerable differences between diabetic patients with low and high MCH as regards the proportion achieving Hb [A.sub.1c]-defined glycemia management goals. Accordingly, given the interrelationships among erythrocyte indices and the high prevalence of erythrocyte index alterations in this population, the proper interpretation of Hb [A.sub.1c] values, whether for diagnostic or management purposes, would seem to require consideration of MCH (or in its absence, MCV), and possibly of full blood count data. This does not mean that MCH values could be used to correct Hb [A.sub.1c] values--their mutual correlation is too weak for this--but that their influence should nevertheless be taken into account, for example by using different Hb [A.sub.1c] thresholds for different MCH ranges. If subsequent studies confirm the present findings, it may be worthwhile investigating whether the use of such MCH-dependent Hb [A.sub.1c] thresholds improves patient management.

Author Contributions: All authors confirmed they have contributed to the intellectual content of this paper and have met the following 3 requirements: (a) significant contributions to the conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; (b) drafting or revising the article for intellectual content; and (c) final approval of the published article.

Authors' Disclosures or Potential Conflicts of Interest: Upon manuscript submission, all authors completed the author disclosure form. Disclosures and/or potential conflicts of interest:

Employment or Leadership: F.F. Casanueva, SERGAS.

Consultant or Advisory Role: None declared.

Stock Ownership: None declared.

Honoraria: None declared.

Research Funding: None declared

Expert Testimony: None declared.

Patents: None declared.

Role of Sponsor: The funding organizations played no role in the design of study, choice of enrolled patients, review and interpretation of data, and final approval of manuscript.


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(31.) Wang W, Lee ET, Howard BV, Fabsitz RR, Devereux RB, Welty TK. Fasting plasma glucose and hemoglobin A1c in identifying and predicting diabetes: The Strong Heart Study. Diabetes Care 2011; 34:363-68.

Santiago Rodriguez-Segade, [1, 2] * Javier Rodriguez Garcia, [2] Jose M. Garcia-Lopez, [3] Francisco Gude, [4] Felipe F. Casanueva, [3, 5] Santiago RS-Alonso, [6] and Felix Camina [1]

[1] Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, [2] University Hospital Clinical Biochemistry Laboratory, [3] Division of Endocrinology, [4] Clinical Epidemiology Unit, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, [15782] -Santiago de Compostela, A Coruna, Spain; [5] Physiopathology of Obesity and Nutrition Biomedical Research Network Consortium; and [6] the Division of Pneumology, University Hospital Clinical Complex (CHUAC), A Coruna, Spain.

* Address correspondence to this author at: Clinical Biochemistry Laboratory, Complejo Hospitalario Universitario de Santiago, Travesia de la Choupana s/n, 15706 Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Fax +34-881814934 E-mail

Received March 18,2016; accepted July 27,2016.

Previously published online at DOI: 10.1373/clinchem.2016.257659

[7] Nonstandard abbreviations: Hb[A.sub.1c], hemoglobin [A.sub.1c]; MCH, mean corpuscular hemoglobin; MCV, mean corpuscularvolume; MCHC, mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration; JDS, Japan Diabetes Society; NGSP, National Glycohemoglobin Standardization Program; eGFR, estimated glomerular filtration rate; eAG, estimated average glucose; JDS/JSCC, Japanese Diabetes Society and Japanese Society for Clinical Chemistry; NGSP, US National Glycohemoglobin Standardization Program.

Caption: Fig.1. MCH distributions between groups of patients with discrepant diabetes diagnosis criteria. FPG, fasting plasma glucose.
Table 1. Characteristics of the study participants. (a)

Number                                    21 844
  Age, years                        62.2 [+ or -] 17.6
    Range                               27.5-85.5
  Female, n (%)                        10 040(46.0)
  Glycemic status, n (%)
  Diabetes                            10 601 (48.6)
  Prediabetes                           6453(29.5)
  Normal                                4790(21.9)
Measures of glycemia
  Hb [A.sub.1c], (%)                 6.5 [+ or -] 1.8
    Range                                4.7-10.3
  Hb [A.sub.1c], mmol/mol             48 [+ or -] 17
    Range                                 28-89
  Fasting glucose, mg/dL             134 [+ or -] 60
    Range                                 79-263
  Hepatic profile
  Liver disease, n (%)                 9102 (41.7)
  AST, U/L                              15(11-20)
    range                                  8-52
  ALT, U/L                              18(13-27)
    Range                                  9-62
  [gamma]-GT, U/L                       18(10-36)
    Range                                  5-34
  Bilirubin, mg/dL                   0.60 (0.43-0.83)
    Range                               0.25-1.49
  Albumin, g/dL                      4.1 [+ or -] 0.5
    Range                                3.1-4.7

Hematological characteristics

  Anemic, n (%)                        5712 (26.1)
  Hemoglobin, g/dL                  13.3 [+ or -] 1.8
    Range                                9.9-16.0
  MCV, fL                           88.1 [+ or -] 6.1
    Range                               78.8-97.7
  MCH, pg                           30.1 [+ or -] 2.3
    Range                               26.4-33.4
  MCHC, g/dL                        34.1 [+ or -] 1.2
    Range                               32.1-36.1
  Erythrocytes, [10.sup.6]/[mu]L    4.45 [+ or -] 0.59
    Range                               3.38-5.32
  Renal profile
  Kidney disease, n (%)                 2634(12.1)
  Creatinine, mg/dL                   0.9 (0.8-1.1)
    Range                                0.7-1.8
  eGFR, mL x [min.sup.-1] x             77(63-91)
      [(1.73 [m.sup.2]).sup.-1]
    Range                                 34-120

(a) Data are means [+ or -] SDs, n(%),or
50th (25th/75th centiles) and ranges (5th to 95th
centiles). To convert concentrations from mg/dL to
mmol/L, multiply by 0.05551 for glucose, 0.0884 for
creatinine. To convert bilirub in from mg/dL to
[micro]mol/L, multiply by 17.1.

Table 2. Characteristics of patients in each MCH
interdecile interval. (a)

                                        <1           1-2

All patients, n                        2173          2176
MCH range, pg                        16.0-27.5    27.6-28.5
Female, %                              61.2          58.2
Hemoglobin, g/dL                    11.7 (1.8)    12.8(1.8)
Anemia, %                              60.2          34.7
Liver disease, %                       42.2          37.9
Kidney disease, %                      14.9          14.9
Hb [A.sub.1c], %                    6.79(1.89)    6.74(1.97)
Hb [A.sub.1c], mmol/mol             50.7 (18.3)   50.2(19.2)
eAG, (b) mg/dL                        148(54)      147 (57)
FPG, (c) mg/dL                        135(62)      136(65)
Patients satisfying
criteria for, %
    Hb [A.sub.1c] <5.7%                31.5          35.6
    (39 mmol/mol)
    FPG <100, mg/dL                    32.8          33.7
    Hb [A.sub.1c] 5.7-6.4%             26.3          25.6
    (39-46 mmol/mol)
    FPG 100-125 mg/dL                  26.8          27.3
    Hb [A.sub.1c] [greater             42.2          38.9
    than or equal to] 6.5%
    (48 mmol/mol)
    FPG [greater than or               40.4          39.1
    equal to] 126 mg/dL
  Other Hb [A.sub.1c] targets
    [A.sub.1c] <7% (53 mmol/mol)       66.5          68.2
    [A.sub.1c] [greater than or        20.4          20.7
   equal to] 8% (64 mmol/mol)

                                       2-3           3-4

All patients, n                        2338         2151
MCH range, pg                       28.6-29.2     29.3-29.7
Female, %                              55.3         50.1
Hemoglobin, g/dL                    13.2(1.7)     13.4(1.6)
Anemia, %                              26.1         22.3
Liver disease, %                       34.9         35.6
Kidney disease, %                      14.2         11.9
Hb [A.sub.1c], %                    6.65(1.87)   6.57 (1.88)
Hb [A.sub.1c], mmol/mol             49.2(18.1)   48.3(18.2)
eAG, (b) mg/dL                       144(54)       142(54)
FPG, (c) mg/dL                       135(63)       136(62)
Patients satisfying
criteria for, %
    Hb [A.sub.1c] <5.7%                36.4         38.4
    (39 mmol/mol)
    FPG <100, mg/dL                    32.0         30.8
    Hb [A.sub.1c] 5.7-6.4%             25.9         26.1
    (39-46 mmol/mol)
    FPG 100-125 mg/dL                  28.8         30.2
    Hb [A.sub.1c] [greater             37.7         35.5
    than or equal to] 6.5%
    (48 mmol/mol)
    FPG [greater than or               39.3         39.0
    equal to] 126 mg/dL
  Other Hb [A.sub.1c] targets
    [A.sub.1c] <7% (53 mmol/mol)       69.4         72.2
    [A.sub.1c] [greater than or        19.6         17.9
   equal to] 8% (64 mmol/mol)

                                        4-5          5-6

All patients, n                        1969          2421
MCH range, pg                        29.8-30.1    30.2-30.6
Female, %                              49.1          45.8
Hemoglobin, g/dL                     13.5(1.7)    13.6(1.6)
Anemia, %                              21.8          19.6
Liver disease, %                       37.1          39.2
Kidney disease, %                      12.2          10.8
Hb [A.sub.1c], %                    6.57 (1.81)   6.45(1.75)
Hb [A.sub.1c], mmol/mol             48.3(17.4)    47.0(16.8)
eAG, (b) mg/dL                        142(52)      138(50)
FPG, (c) mg/dL                        136(62)      134(58)
Patients satisfying
criteria for, %
    Hb [A.sub.1c] <5.7%                36.9          41.0
    (39 mmol/mol)
    FPG <100, mg/dL                    30.6          31.5
    Hb [A.sub.1c] 5.7-6.4%             26.3          24.9
    (39-46 mmol/mol)
    FPG 100-125 mg/dL                  28.1          27.8
    Hb [A.sub.1c] [greater             36.8          34.1
    than or equal to] 6.5%
    (48 mmol/mol)
    FPG [greater than or               41.2          40.7
    equal to] 126 mg/dL
  Other Hb [A.sub.1c] targets
    [A.sub.1c] <7% (53 mmol/mol)       69.9          73.2
    [A.sub.1c] [greater than or        17.8          15.7
   equal to] 8% (64 mmol/mol)

                                       6-7          7-8

All patients, n                        2218         2183
MCH range, pg                       30.7-31.1    31.2-31.7
Female, %                              42.1         37.5
Hemoglobin, g/dL                    13.7 (1.7)   13.8(1.7)
Anemia, %                              19.0         17.9
Liver disease, %                       40.6         43.0
Kidney disease, %                      10.0         10.1
Hb [A.sub.1c], %                    6.52(1.79)   6.40(1.77)
Hb [A.sub.1c], mmol/mol             47.8(17.2)   46.4(17.0)
eAG, (b) mg/dL                       140(51)      137 (51)
FPG, (c) mg/dL                       135(58)      133(59)
Patients satisfying
criteria for, %
    Hb [A.sub.1c] <5.7%                39.0         43.4
    (39 mmol/mol)
    FPG <100, mg/dL                    30.5         31.6
    Hb [A.sub.1c] 5.7-6.4%             24.8         24.0
    (39-46 mmol/mol)
    FPG 100-125 mg/dL                  26.9         29.8
    Hb [A.sub.1c] [greater             36.2         32.6
    than or equal to] 6.5%
    (48 mmol/mol)
    FPG [greater than or               42.6         38.6
    equal to] 126 mg/dL
  Other Hb [A.sub.1c] targets
    [A.sub.1c] <7% (53 mmol/mol)       72.1         75.0
    [A.sub.1c] [greater than or        16.9         14.6
   equal to] 8% (64 mmol/mol)

                                       8-9           >9

All patients, n                        2004         2211
MCH range, pg                       31.8-32.5      32.6-45
Female, %                              33.8         25.7
Hemoglobin, g/dL                    13.9(1.6)     13.9(1.9)
Anemia, %                              17.1         22.5
Liver disease, %                       46.1         60.6
Kidney disease, %                      10.2         11.4
Hb [A.sub.1c], %                    6.33(1.77)   6.09(1.66)
Hb [A.sub.1c], mmol/mol             45.7(17.0)   43.1 (15.8)
eAG, (b) mg/dL                       135(51)       128(48)
FPG, (c) mg/dL                       133(58)      131 (54)
Patients satisfying
criteria for, %
    Hb [A.sub.1c] <5.7%                45.8         51.8
    (39 mmol/mol)
    FPG <100, mg/dL                    30.4         31.4
    Hb [A.sub.1c] 5.7-6.4%             23.2         22.1
    (39-46 mmol/mol)
    FPG 100-125 mg/dL                  31.0         30.2
    Hb [A.sub.1c] [greater             31.0         26.1
    than or equal to] 6.5%
    (48 mmol/mol)
    FPG [greater than or               38.6         38.4
    equal to] 126 mg/dL
  Other Hb [A.sub.1c] targets
    [A.sub.1c] <7% (53 mmol/mol)       75.9         79.7
    [A.sub.1c] [greater than or        14.5         12.5
   equal to] 8% (64 mmol/mol)

                                    P for trend

All patients, n
MCH range, pg
Female, %                             <0.001
Hemoglobin, g/dL                      <0.001
Anemia, %                             <0.001
Liver disease, %                      <0.001
Kidney disease, %                     <0.001
Hb [A.sub.1c], %                      <0.001
Hb [A.sub.1c], mmol/mol               <0.001
eAG, (b) mg/dL                        <0.001
FPG, (c) mg/dL                         0.299
Patients satisfying
criteria for, %
    Hb [A.sub.1c] <5.7%               <0.001
    (39 mmol/mol)
    FPG <100, mg/dL                    0.366
    Hb [A.sub.1c] 5.7-6.4%             0.012
    (39-46 mmol/mol)
    FPG 100-125 mg/dL                  0.002
    Hb [A.sub.1c] [greater            <0.001
    than or equal to] 6.5%
    (48 mmol/mol)
    FPG [greater than or               0.053
    equal to] 126 mg/dL
  Other Hb [A.sub.1c] targets
    [A.sub.1c] <7% (53 mmol/mol)      <0.001
    [A.sub.1c] [greater than or       <0.001
   equal to] 8% (64 mmol/mol)

(a) Data are mean (SD) unless otherwise indicated.
To convert glucose concentrations from mg/dL to
mmol/L, multiply by 0.05551.

(b) Calculated by the estimated average glucose
formula [Nathan etal. (20)}.

(c) FPG, fasting plasma glucose.

Table 3. Multivariate linear regression of Hb
[A.sub.1c] with hematological, demographic and metabolic
indices. (a)

Variable                      P        SE     P value   [R.sup.2b]

Fasting glucose, mg/dL     0.0212    0.0001   <0.0001     49.4%
Mean cell hemoglobin, pg   -0.0718   0.0038   <0.0001     50.2%
Age, years                 0.0021    0.0005   <0.0001     50.2%
Constant                   5.6890    0.1210   <0.0001

(a) Variables included and discarded in the
regression analysis: hemoglobin, mean cell
hemoglobin concentration, mean cell volume,
erythrocytes, sex, serum creatinine, and liver

(b) Comulativevariable effect.

Table 4. Mean Hb [A.sub.1c] adjusted forsex, age, serum
creatinine, and liver disease in each interdecile
interval of MCH, MCV, and hemoglobin, with 95% CIs
in parentheses.

  Interdecile range, pg     [greater than or      27.6-28.5
                             equal to] 27.5
  Hb [A.sub.1c], %            6.8 (6.7-6.9)     6.8 (6.7-6.9)
  Hb [A.sub.1c], mmol/mol       51(50-52)        51 (50-52)
  Interdecile range, fL     [greater than or      81.4-83.7
                             equal to] 81.3
  Hb [A.sub.1c], %            6.8 (6.7-6.9)     6.7 (6.6-6.8)
  Hb [A.sub.1c], mmol/mol       51(50-52)         50(49-51)
  Interdecile range, g/L    [greater than or       109-119
                              equal to] 108
  Hb [A.sub.1c], %            6.5 (6.5-6.6)      6.6(6.5-67)
  Hb [A.sub.1c], mmol/mol      48 (48-49)         49(48-50)

  Interdecile range, pg       28.6-29.2       29.3-29.7

  Hb [A.sub.1c], %           67(6.6-6.8)     6.6(6.5-67)
  Hb [A.sub.1c], mmol/mol    50 (49.51)      49 (48-50)
  Interdecile range, fL       83.8-85.4       85.5-86.7

  Hb [A.sub.1c], %           67(6.6-6.8)     6.6(6.5-67)
  Hb [A.sub.1c], mmol/mol    50 (49-51)      49 (48-50)
  Interdecile range, g/L       120-125         126-130

  Hb [A.sub.1c], %          6.5 (6.4-6.6)   6.5 (6.4-6.5)
  Hb [A.sub.1c], mmol/mol    48 (46-49)      48 (46-48)

  Interdecile range, pg       29.8-30.1       30.2-30.6

  Hb [A.sub.1c], %           6.6(6.5-67)    6.5 (6.4-6.5)
  Hb [A.sub.1c], mmol/mol    49 (48-50)      48 (46-48)
  Interdecile range, fL       86.8-88.0       88.1-89.3

  Hb [A.sub.1c], %           6.6(6.5-67)    6.5 (6.4-6.6)
  Hb [A.sub.1c], mmol/mol    49 (48-50)      48 (46-49)
  Interdecile range, g/L       131-135         136-139

  Hb [A.sub.1c], %          6.5 (6.5-6.6)   6.5 (6.4-6.6)
  Hb [A.sub.1c], mmol/mol    48 (48-49)      48 (46-49)

  Interdecile range, pg       30.7-31.1       31.2-31.7

  Hb [A.sub.1c], %          6.5 (6.4-6.6)   6.4 (6.3-6.5)
  Hb [A.sub.1c], mmol/mol    48 (46-49)      46 (45-48)
  Interdecile range, fL       89.4-90.7       90.8-92.5

  Hb [A.sub.1c], %          6.4 (6.3-6.5)   6.4 (6.4-6.5)
  Hb [A.sub.1c], mmol/mol    46 (45-48)      46 (46-48)
  Interdecile range, g/L       140-143         144-148

  Hb [A.sub.1c], %          6.5 (6.4-6.5)   6.5 (6.4-6.6)
  Hb [A.sub.1c], mmol/mol    48 (46-48)      48 (46-49)

  Interdecile range, pg       31.8-32.5     [less than or
                                            equal to] 32.6
  Hb [A.sub.1c], %          6.3 (6.2-6.4)   6.0 (6.0-6.1)
  Hb [A.sub.1c], mmol/mol    45 (44-46)       42 (42-43)
  Interdecile range, fL       92.6-95.1     [less than or
                                            equal to] 95.2
  Hb [A.sub.1c], %          6.3 (6.3-6.4)   6.1 (6.0-6.1)
  Hb [A.sub.1c], mmol/mol    45 (45-46)       43 (42-43)
  Interdecile range, g/L       149-155      [less than or
                                             equal to] 156
  Hb [A.sub.1c], %          6.5 (6.4-6.6)    6.5 (6.5-6.6)
  Hb [A.sub.1c], mmol/mol    48 (46-49)       48 (48-49)

Table 5. Odds ratios (per pg increase in MCH or fL
MCV) for exceeding various Hb [A.sub.1c] cutpoints.

                      [less than or equal   [less than or equal
                      to] 5.7% (39 mmol/    to] 6.5% (48 mmol/
                      mol) (95% CI) (n =    mol) (95% CI) (n =
                            13 114)                7671)

  Unadjusted           0.90 (0.89-0.91)      0.93 (0.91-0.94)
  Multivariable (a)    0.86 (0.84-0.87)      0.90 (0.88-0.91)
  Unadjusted           0.97 (0.97-0.98)       0.97(0.97-0.98)
  Multivariable (a)    0.96 (0.95-0.97)      0.96 (0.96-0.97)

                      [less than or equal   [less than or equal
                       to] 7% (53 mmol/      to] 8% (64 mmol/
                      mol) (95% CI) (n =    mol) (95% CI) (n =
                             6070)                 3724)

  Unadjusted            0.93(0.92-0.94)      0.93 (0.91-0.94)
  Multivariable (a)     0.90(0.88-0.92)       0.90(0.88-0.92)
  Unadjusted           0.97 (0.97-0.98)      0.97 (0.96-0.98)
  Multivariable (a)    0.96 (0.96-0.97)      0.96 (0.95-0.97)

(a) Adjusted by age, sex, fasting glucose,
hemoglobin, creatinine, and liver disease (defined
asAST [greater than or equal to] 30 U/L or ALT
[greater than or equal to] 31 U/L or GGT [greater
than or equal to]38 U/L or bilirubin >1.20 mg/dL
or albumin <3.5 g/dL).
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Title Annotation:Endocrinology and Metabolism
Author:Rodriguez-Segade, Santiago; Garcia, Javier Rodriguez; Garcia-Lopez, Jose M.; Gude, Francisco; Casanu
Publication:Clinical Chemistry
Date:Dec 1, 2016
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