Higher acute insulin response to glucose may determine greater free fatty acid clearance in African-American women

Carson C. Chow, Vipul Periwal, Gyorgy Csako, Madia Ricks, Amber B. Courville, Bernard V. Miller, Gloria L. Vega, Anne E. Sumner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Context: Obesity and diabetes are more common in African-Americans than whites. Because free fatty acids (FFA) participate in the development of these conditions, studying race differences in the regulation of FFA and glucose by insulin is essential. Objective: The objective of the study was to determine whether race differences exist in glucose and FFA response to insulin. Design: This was a cross-sectional study. Setting: The study was conducted at a clinical research center. Participants: Thirty-four premenopausal women (17 African-Americans, 17 whites) matched for age [36 ± 10 yr (mean ± SD)] and body mass index (30.0 ± 6.7 kg/m 2). Interventions: Insulin-modified frequently sampled iv glucose tolerance tests were performed with data analyzed by separate minimal models for glucose and FFA. Main Outcome Measures: Glucose measures were insulin sensitivity index (S I) and acute insulin response to glucose (AIRg). FFA measures were FFA clearance rate (c f). Results: Body mass index was similar but fat mass was higher in African-Americans than whites (P <0.01). Compared with whites, African-Americans had lower SI (3.71 ± 1.55 vs. 5.23 ± 2.74 [×10 -4 min -1/(microunits per milliliter)] (P = 0.05) and higher AIRg (642 ± 379 vs. 263 ± 206 mU/liter -1 · min, P < 0.01). Adjusting for fat mass, African-Americans had higher FFA clearance, c f (0.13 ± 0.06 vs. 0.08 ± 0.05 min -1, P < 0.01). After adjusting for AIRg, the race difference in cf was no longer present (P = 0.51). For all women, the relationship between c f and AIRg was significant (r = -0.64, P < 0.01), but the relationship between c f and S I was not (r = -0.07, P = 0.71). The same pattern persisted when the two groups were studied separately. Conclusion: African-Americanwomenwere more insulin resistant than white women, yet they had greater FFA clearance. Acutely higher insulin concentrations in African-American women accounted for higher FFA clearance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2456-2463
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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