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Metabolism. 1988 Apr;37(4):371-7.

Glucose and amino acid metabolism in aging man: differential effects of insulin.

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  • 1Department of Applied Biological Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge.


Insulin is a major regulator of glucose and body protein homeostasis, both of which demonstrate age-related changes. To clarify insulin's role in these age-related changes and to compare age-related glucose and protein homeostatic responses, insulin-mediated aspects of glucose and amino acid metabolism were simultaneously examined in healthy postabsorptive young (n = 5, mean age, 25 years) and elderly (n = 5, mean age, 76 years) men. Primed constant infusions of L-[1-13C]leucine and L-[15N]alanine were administered during a basal period (0 to 180 minutes) and during four separate single rate euglycemic insulin infusions (180 to 360 minutes). Steady state insulin concentrations were 16 +/- 1, 29 +/- 3, 75 +/- 5, and 2407 +/- 56 microU/mL in the young and 23 +/- 4, 37 +/- 8, 96 +/- 11 and 3,357 +/- 249 microU/mL in the elderly at the different insulin infusion rates of 6, 10, 30, and 400 mU mU.m-2.min-1, respectively. For the 6 and 10 mU insulin infusion rates, a primed, constant infusion of [6,6 - 2H2]glucose permitted quantitation of hepatic glucose production. Glucose disposal rates adjusted for lean body mass (LBM) were lower in the elderly than in the young at the 6, 10, and 30 mU insulin infusion rates and similar in the two age groups in the 400 mU studies. Insulin dose-dependent reductions occurred in eight of ten plasma amino acids and were not influenced by age. There was an insulin dose-dependent reduction in plasma leucine flux which was similar in both age groups.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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