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Metabolism. 2010 Feb;59(2):172-6. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2009.06.029. Epub 2009 Sep 17.

Contribution of skeletal muscle mass on sex differences in 2-hour plasma glucose levels after oral glucose load in Thai subjects with normal glucose tolerance.

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Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok 10400, Thailand.


Women have higher 2-hour plasma glucose levels after oral glucose challenge than men. The smaller skeletal muscle mass in women may contribute to the higher postload glucose levels. The objective of this study was to test the hypothesis that the different amount of skeletal muscle mass between men and women contributed to sex difference in postload plasma glucose levels in subjects with normal glucose tolerance. Forty-seven Thai subjects with normal glucose tolerance, 23 women and 24 age- and body mass index-matched men, were studied. Body fat, abdominal fat, and appendages lean mass were measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity was determined by euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp. First-phase insulin secretion and hepatic insulin sensitivity were determined from oral glucose tolerance data. beta-Cell function was estimated from the homeostasis model assessment of %B by the homeostasis model assessment 2 model. Correlation and linear regression analysis were performed to identify factors contributing to variances of postload 2-hour plasma glucose levels. This study showed that women had significantly higher 2-hour plasma glucose levels and smaller skeletal muscle mass than men. Measures of insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity were not different between men and women. Male sex (r = -0.360, P = .013) and appendages lean mass (r = -0.411, P = .004) were negatively correlated with 2-hour plasma glucose, whereas log 2-hour insulin (r = 0.571, P < .0001), total body fat (r = 0.348, P = .016), and log abdominal fat (r = 0.298, P = .042) were positively correlated with 2-hour plasma glucose. The correlation of 2-hour plasma glucose and sex disappeared after adjustment for appendages lean mass. By multivariate linear regression analysis, log 2-hour insulin (beta = 18.9, P < .0001), log 30-minute insulin (beta = -36.3, P = .001), appendages lean mass (beta = -1.0 x 10(-3), P = .018), and hepatic insulin sensitivity index (beta = -17.3, P = .041) explained 54.2% of the variance of 2-hour plasma glucose. In conclusion, the higher postload 2-hour plasma glucose levels in women was not sex specific but was in part a result of the smaller skeletal muscle mass. The early insulin secretion, hepatic insulin sensitivity, and skeletal muscle mass were the significant factors negatively predicting 2-hour postload plasma glucose levels in Thai subjects with normal glucose tolerance.

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