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Metabolism. 2009 Feb;58(2):180-5. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2008.09.011.

Associations between circulating free fatty acids, visceral adipose tissue accumulation, and insulin sensitivity in postmenopausal women.

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Institute of Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods, Laval University, Québec, Quebec, Canada.


The aims of the study were to evaluate the contribution of visceral adipose tissue (AT) accumulation and insulin sensitivity to the determination of circulating free fatty acid (FFA) concentrations measured during a 2-hour euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp and to verify whether elevated FFAs are associated with other components of the metabolic syndrome in postmenopausal women. This cross-sectional study included 115 postmenopausal women (46-68 years old). Visceral AT was estimated by computed tomography. Insulin sensitivity was assessed by a 2-hour euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp. Free fatty acid concentration was measured in the fasting state and every 30 minutes during the clamp. Fasting plasma glucose and 2-hour plasma glucose were measured by an oral glucose tolerance test. Visceral AT was associated positively and insulin sensitivity negatively with FFA area under the curve (AUC) measured during the clamp. Women with high visceral AT accumulation and low insulin sensitivity had higher FFA AUC than women with high visceral AT accumulation and high insulin sensitivity or women with low visceral AT combined with either low or high insulin sensitivity. Free fatty acid AUC was positively associated with triglyceride (r = 0.25, P < .05), fasting plasma glucose (r = 0.26, P < .01), 2-hour plasma glucose (r = 0.27, P < .01), and diastolic blood pressure (r = 0.21, P < .05) independently of visceral AT and insulin sensitivity. In postmenopausal women, the presence of both high visceral AT and low insulin sensitivity is needed to observe an elevated FFA AUC. Moreover, FFA AUC is associated with some components of the metabolic syndrome, independently of visceral AT and insulin sensitivity.

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