Plasma Branched-Chain Amino Acids May Be Tied to Diabetes, Metabolic Abnormalities

Share this content:
Researchers have found a potential link between plasma branched-chain amino acids and insulin sensitivity.
Researchers have found a potential link between plasma branched-chain amino acids and insulin sensitivity.

(HealthDay News) — Plasma branched-chain amino acids are associated with insulin sensitivity and metabolic clearance rate of insulin, according to a study published in Diabetes Care.

C. Christine Lee, MD, from the University of Toronto, and colleagues examined the correlations for branched-chain amino acids with insulin sensitivity, acute insulin response, and  in 685 participants without diabetes from the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study. 

The authors measured plasma branched-chain amino acids (sum of valine, leucine, and isoleucine) by mass spectrometry, while frequently-sampled intravenous glucose tolerance tests were used to assess insulin sensitivity, acute insulin response, and metabolic clearance rate of insulin.

The researchers found that after adjustment for potential confounders, there was an inverse association for elevated plasma branched-chain amino acids with insulin sensitivity and metabolic clearance rate of insulin, and a positive association for fasting insulin. 

Ethnicity significantly modified the correlation for branched-chain amino acids with insulin sensitivity, with the correlation only significant in Caucasians and Hispanics. In Caucasians and Hispanics, but not African-Americans, elevated plasma branched-chain amino acids correlated with incident diabetes (multivariable-adjusted odds ratio for 1-standard deviation increase in plasma branched-chain aminoa acids, 1.67). 

There was no correlation for plasma branched-chain amino acids with insulin sensitivity-adjusted acute insulin response.

"Plasma branched-chain amino acids are associated with incident diabetes and underlying metabolic abnormalities, although the associations were generally stronger in Caucasians and Hispanics," the researchers wrote.

One author is employed by Metabolon, which provides metabolomics services and sells diagnostics for the management of metabolic disorders.

Reference

  1. Lee CC, Watkins SM, Lorenzo C, et al. Branched-Chain Amino Acids and Insulin Metabolism: The Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Study (IRAS). Diabetes Care. 2016. doi:10.2337/dc15-2284.
You must be a registered member of Endocrinology Advisor to post a comment.

Sign Up for Free e-Newsletters

CME Focus