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Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2003 Nov;27(11):1359-64.

Racial differences in glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) concentrations and insulin dynamics during oral glucose tolerance test in obese subjects.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN 38103, USA.


Obese African-American (AA) subjects have higher resting and stimulated insulin concentrations than obese Caucasians (C), which could not be explained by the severity of obesity or the degree of insulin sensitivity. We investigated whether differences in glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), the most potent incretin that regulates insulin secretion, might explain racial differences in insulin response. Accordingly, we measured fasting and stimulated glucose, insulin, and GLP-1 levels during a 3-h oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) in 26 obese C (age 38+/-2 y, body mass index 44+/-1 kg/m(2)) and 16 obese AA (age 36+/-2 y, BMI 46+/-2 kg/m(2)) subjects. Corrected insulin response (CIR(30)), a measure of beta-cell activity, whole body insulin sensitivity index (WBISI), and area under the curve (AUC) for insulin, GLP-1, and C-peptide/insulin ratio were computed from the OGTT. Glucose levels, fasting and during the OGTT, were similar between racial groups; 32% of the C and 31% of the AA subjects had impaired glucose tolerance. With a similar WBISI, AAs had significantly higher CIR(30) (2.3+/-0.4 vs 1.01+/-0.1), insulin response (IAUC: 23 974+/-4828 vs 14 478+/-1463), and lower insulin clearance (0.07+/-0.01 vs 0.11+/-0.01) than C (all, P<0.01). Obese AAs also had higher fasting GLP-1 (6.7+/-2.5 vs 4.5+/-1.1) and GLP-1AUC (1174.7+/-412 vs 822.4+/-191) than C (both, P<0.02). Our results indicate that obese AAs had higher concentrations of GLP-1 both at fasting and during the OGTT than obese C. The increased GLP-1 concentration could explain the greater insulin concentration and the increased prevalence of hyperinsulinemia-associated disorders including obesity and type 2 diabetes in AAs.

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