The pathogenesis of type-2 diabetes involves a disturbance of the energy balance and chronic inflammation. As chronic helminth infection is associated with lower nutritional status and anti-inflammatory response, we hypothesize that helminth infections are associated with increased insulin sensitvity.
In an area endemic for soil-transmitted helminth in Flores, Indonesia, we performed a cross-sectional study where stool samples from 646 participants aged 18-80 years were collected and screened for helminth infections. Participants with any helminth infection had lower body mass index, waist-to-hip ratio, insulin level and index of homeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) than uninfected subjects. Importantly, with increasing number of helminth species infecting an individual, the HOMA-IR decreased incrementally.
We concluded that helminth infections are associated with an improvement of insulin sensitivity.