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Am J Physiol. 1995 Jul;269(1 Pt 1):E150-4.

The insulin action-fiber type relationship in humans is muscle group specific.

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  • 1Human Performance Laboratory, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina 27858, USA.


The purpose of the present investigation was to determine the relationship between skeletal muscle characteristics, adiposity, and in vivo insulin action. Percutaneous muscle biopsies of the vastus lateralis (VL) and gastrocnemius (G) muscles were obtained from twenty-two sedentary male subjects. Insulin sensitivity (SI) and glucose effectiveness (SG) were determined from minimal model analysis, and indexes of regional and overall adiposity were obtained. SI was positively related to the citrate synthase activity from the VL (r = 0.50, P < 0.01) but unrelated to the citrate synthase activity from the G (r = 0.28). Similarly, SI was inversely related to the percentage of type IIb fibers in the VL (r = -0.47, P < 0.01) but unrelated to the percentage of type IIb fibers in the G (r = 0.06). SG was unrelated to fiber type, oxidative capacity, or adiposity. These data suggest that oxidative capacity and other characteristics related to VL skeletal muscle fiber type are determinants of in vivo insulin action but that this relationship cannot be extended to all muscle groups. Finally, neither skeletal muscle characteristics nor adiposity appears to be a determinant of SG in sedentary males.

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