BACKGROUND: The triglyceride-glucose (TyG) index is a marker of insulin resistance (IR) and has been associated with various metabolic syndromes, cardiovascular diseases, and cerebrovascular diseases. However, limited information is available regarding its association with subclinical cerebral small vessel disease (cSVD). In this study, we evaluated the relationship between the TyG index and cSVD, including silent brain infarcts (SBIs) and white matter hyperintensity (WMH).
METHODS: We assessed health check-up participants aged 40-79 years from 2006 to 2013. The TyG index was calculated using the log scale of fasting triglyceride (mg/dL) × fasting glucose (mg/dL)/2. The Homeostatic Model Assessment for Insulin Resistance (HOMA-IR) was also calculated. This was compared with two insulin surrogates and cSVD as another IR indicator and compared the association between two insulin surrogates and cSVD. SBI was measured for both prevalence and burden. The WMH volume was quantitatively rated using a computer-assisted semi-automated technique.
RESULTS: A total of 2615 participants were evaluated (median age: 56 years, male sex: 53%). In the multivariable logistic regression analysis, the TyG index was seen to be associated with SBI prevalence (adjusted odds ratio: 1.39; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.06-1.81). Further quantitative analyses showed a positive dose-response relationship between the TyG index and SBI burden (P for trend = 0.006). In multivariable linear regression analysis, the TyG index was also found to be related to the volume of WMH (β = 0.084; 95% CI = 0.013 to 0.154). Additionally, the TyG index showed a similar or slightly stronger association with the prevalence of SBI and the volume of WMH than did HOMA-IR.
CONCLUSIONS: A high TyG index was associated with a higher prevalence and burden of cSVD in a neurologically healthy population. This marker of IR could be a convenient and useful predictor of cSVD.