BMI, RQ, diabetes, and sex affect the relationships between amino acids and clamp measures of insulin action in humans

Anna E. Thalacker-Mercer, Katherine H. Ingram, Fangjian Guo, Olga Ilkayeva, Christopher B. Newgard, W. Timothy Garvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Previous studies have used indirect measures of insulin sensitivity to link circulating amino acids with insulin resistance and identify potential biomarkers of diabetes risk. Using direct measures (i.e., hyperinsulinemic- euglycemic clamps), we examined the relationships between the metabolomic amino acid profile and insulin action (i.e., glucose disposal rate [GDR]). Relationships between GDR and serum amino acids were determined among insulinsensitive, insulin-resistant, and type 2 diabetic (T2DM) individuals. In all subjects, glycine (Gly) had the strongest correlation with GDR (positive association), followed by leucine/isoleucine (Leu/Ile) (negative association). These relationships were dramatically influenced by BMI, the resting respiratory quotient (RQ), T2DM, and sex. Gly had a strong positive correlation with GDR regardless of BMI, RQ, or sex but became nonsignificant in T2DM. In contrast, Leu/Ile was negatively associated with GDR in nonobese and T2DM subjects. Increased resting fat metabolism (i.e., low RQ) and obesity were observed to independently promote and negate the association between Leu/Ile and insulin resistance, respectively. Additionally, the relationship between Leu/Ile and GDR was magnified in T2DM males. Future studies are needed to determine whether Gly has a mechanistic role in glucose homeostasis and whether dietary Gly enrichment may be an effective intervention in diseases characterized by insulin resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)791-800
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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