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Metabolism. 2000 Apr;49(4):450-4.

Elevation of plasma fatty acids by ten-hour intralipid infusion has no effect on basal or glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in normal man.

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Diabetes Resource Centre, University Hospital Birmingham (Selly Oak), UK.


There is controversy over the effect of free fatty acids (FFAs) on insulin secretion. Previous studies have shown opposite effects of short- and long-term exposure to elevated concentrations of FFAs. We studied 8 normal subjects (mean age, 30 years; mean body mass index, 23.4 kg/m2) on 2 occasions. Each had a 10-hour overnight infusion of Intralipid 20% (Pharmacia, Milton Keynes, UK) with simultaneous infusion of heparin (0.4 U/kg body weight/min) or a control infusion of saline (150 mmol/L). Insulin secretion was assessed immediately after completion of the 10-hour infusion by an intravenous glucose tolerance test. Results were analyzed using paired ttests. Intralipid infusion caused an increase in plasma FFAs of more than 9-fold (P < .01), with a simultaneous increase in glycerol (P < .01) and hydroxybutyrate (P < .01). There was no difference in blood glucose concentrations during the infusion or intravenous glucose tolerance test. Similarly, insulin secretion was not significantly different during Intralipid infusion or in the intravenous glucose tolerance test (peak insulin achieved in glucose tolerance test, P = .51; total insulin secretion during intravenous glucose tolerance test, P = .27). In conclusion, after increasing plasma FFA concentrations over 9-fold during a 10-hour infusion of Intralipid and heparin, we found no difference in basal or glucose-stimulated insulin secretion.

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