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Plasma Bile Acids More Closely Align With Insulin Resistance, Visceral and Hepatic Adiposity Than Total Adiposity


CONTEXT: The etiological mechanism of bile acid (BA) effects on insulin resistance and obesity is unknown. OBJECTIVE: This work aimed to determine whether plasma BAs are elevated in human obesity and/or insulin resistance. METHODS: This observational study was conducted at an academic research center. Seventy-one adult volunteers formed 4 groups: lean insulin-sensitive (body mass index [BMI] </= 25 kg/m2, Homeostatic Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance [HOMA-IR] < 2.0, n = 19), overweight/obese nondiabetic who were either insulin sensitive (Obsensitive, BMI > 25 kg/m2, HOMA-IR < 1.5, n = 11) or insulin resistant (Obresistant, BMI > 25 kg/m2, HOMA-IR > 3.0, n = 20), and type 2 diabetes (T2D, n = 21). Main outcome measures included insulin sensitivity by hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp, body composition by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, abdominal fat distribution, and liver density by computed tomography and plasma BA. RESULTS: In the Obresistant group, glucose infusion rate/fat-free mass (GIR/FFM, an inverse measure of insulin resistance) was significantly lower, and visceral and liver fat higher, compared to lean and Obsensitive individuals, despite similar total adiposity in Obresistant and Obsensitive. Total BA concentrations were higher in Obresistant (2.62 +/- 0.333 mmol/L, P = .03) and T2D (3.36 +/- 0.582 mmol/L, P < .001) vs Obsensitive (1.16 +/- 0.143 mmol/L), but were similar between Obsensitive and lean (2.31 +/- 0.329 mmol/L) individuals. Total BAs were positively associated with waist circumference (R = 0.245, P = .041), visceral fat (R = 0.360, P = .002), and fibroblast growth factor 21 (R = 0.341, P = .004) and negatively associated with insulin sensitivity (R = -0.395, P = .001), abdominal subcutaneous fat (R = -0.352, P = .003), adiponectin (R = -0.375, P = .001), and liver fat (Hounsfield units, an inverse marker of liver fat, R = -0.245, P = .04). Conjugated BAs were additionally elevated in T2D individuals (P < .001). CONCLUSIONS: BA concentrations correlated with abdominal, visceral, and liver fat in humans, though an etiological role in insulin resistance remains to be verified.

Type Journal
ISBN 1945-7197 (Electronic) 0021-972X (Linking)
Authors Bishay, R. H.; Tonks, K. T.; George, J.; Samocha-Bonet, D.; Meyerowitz-Katz, G.; Chisholm, D. J.; James, D. E.; Greenfield, J. R.
Responsible Garvan Author Prof Jerry Greenfield
Published Date 2021-03-31
Published Volume 106
Published Issue 3
Published Pages e1131-e1139
Status Published in-print
DOI 10.1210/clinem/dgaa940
URL link to publisher's version