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Metabolism. 2007 Oct;56(10):1444-51.

Contribution of nonesterified fatty acids to insulin resistance in the elderly with normal fasting but diabetic 2-hour postchallenge plasma glucose levels: the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging.

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National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, MD 21224, USA.


Isolated postchallenge hyperglycemia (IPH) with normal fasting plasma glucose <100 mg/dL and plasma glucose with diabetic 2-hour plasma glucose >or=200 mg/dL after an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) is a common occurrence in the elderly. We sought to understand what unique characteristics this population might have that puts it at risk for this particular metabolic finding. We therefore conducted a longitudinal study of volunteers in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA). All volunteers had an OGTT performed (75 g) on 2 or more occasions. We measured plasma levels of glucose, insulin, C-peptide, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP), ghrelin, leptin, adiponectin, resistin, C-reactive protein, cytokines, and their soluble receptors, as well as nonesterified free fatty acids (NEFAs). We determined that 22 subjects in BLSA had IPH, accounting for 2.1% of the BLSA population. All 22 were older than 65 years. They were then matched by age, sex, and body mass index to 12 subjects who had isolated impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) and 15 subjects with normal glucose tolerance (NGT). All subjects had normal fasting glucose levels <100 mg/dL in accordance with the American Diabetes Association Expert Committee on the Classification and Diagnosis of Diabetes Mellitus criteria (2003). We found that subjects with IPH had similar plasma insulin levels to the other 2 groups, except at the 2-hour time when their insulin levels were higher than NGT (P < .05). Although there was a clear trend for differences in the insulinogenic index, the areas under the curves for insulin, systolic blood pressure, adiponectin, and C-reactive protein across the glucose tolerance categories revealed no statistical significance. Cytokines and their soluble receptors, gut hormones, and adipokines were similar in all 3 groups. The NEFA levels were significantly elevated in the fasting state (P < .05) in the IPH compared with NGT, with IGT intermediate between the other 2 groups. The rate of clearance of NEFAs after the OGTT decreased progressively from the NGT to the IPH group (in micromoles per liter per minute: NGT, 11.9 vs IGT, 7.6 vs IPH, 3.0). We conclude that the rate of suppression of lipolysis in the elderly determines the sensitivity of glucose uptake to insulin after OGTT.

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