Branched Chain Amino Acids Are Associated with Insulin Resistance Independent of Leptin and Adiponectin in Subjects with Varying Degrees of Glucose Tolerance

Margery A. Connelly, Justyna Wolak-Dinsmore, Robin P. F. Dullaart*

*Corresponding author for this work

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    Background: Branched chain amino acids (BCAA) may be involved in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance and are associated with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) development. Adipokines such as leptin and adiponectin influence insulin resistance and reflect adipocyte dysfunction. We examined the extent to which the association of BCAA with insulin resistance is attributable to altered leptin and adiponectin levels in individuals with varying degrees of glucose tolerance.

    Methods: BCAA were measured by nuclear magnetic resonance, whereas leptin and adiponectin were measured by immunoassay, in subjects with normal fasting glucose (n = 30), impaired fasting glucose (n = 25), and T2DM (n = 15). Insulin resistance was estimated by homeostasis model assessment (HOMAir).

    Results: BCAA were higher in men than in women (P <0.001) and tended to be higher in T2DM subjects (P = 0.10) compared to subjects with normal or impaired fasting glucose. In univariate regression analysis, BCAA were correlated with HOMAir (r = 0.46; P <0.001) and inversely with adiponectin (r=-0.53; P <0.001) but not with leptin (r=-0.08; P > 0.05). Multivariable linear regression analysis, adjusting for age, sex, T2DM, and body mass index (BMI), demonstrated that BCAA were positively associated with HOMAir (beta = 0.242, P = 0.023). When BCAA, leptin, and adiponectin were included together, the positive relationship of HOMAir with BCAA (beta = 0.275, P = 0.012) remained significant.

    Conclusions: Insulin resistance was associated with BCAA. This association remained after adjusting for age, sex, T2DM, BMI, as well as leptin and adiponectin. It is unlikely that the relationship of insulin resistance with BCAA is to a major extent attributable to effects of leptin and adiponectin.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)183-186
    Number of pages4
    JournalMetabolic syndrome and related disorders
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - May-2017


    • branched chain amino acids
    • nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy
    • insulin resistance
    • adipose tissue dysfunction
    • type 2 diabetes mellitus
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