Endocrinology and Metabolism

Roles of insulin resistance and obesity in regulation of plasma insulin concentrations

Clare N. O. Jones, Fahim Abbasi, Marcello Carantoni, Kenneth S. Polonsky, Gerald M. Reaven


Plasma glucose, insulin, and C-peptide concentrations were determined in response to graded infusions of glucose, and insulin secretion rates were calculated over each sampling period. Measurements were also made of insulin clearance, resistance to insulin-mediated glucose, uptake, and the plasma glucose, insulin, and C-peptide concentrations at hourly intervals from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM in response to breakfast and lunch. Plasma glucose, insulin, and C-peptide concentrations were significantly (P < 0.01) higher in obese women in response to the graded intravenous glucose infusion, associated with a 40% (P < 0.005) greater insulin secretory response. Degree of insulin resistance correlated positively (P < 0.05) with the increase in insulin secretion rate in both nonobese (r = 0.52) and obese (r = 0.58) groups and inversely (P < 0.05) with the decrease in insulin clearance in obese (r = −0.46) and nonobese (r = −0.39) individuals. Weight loss was associated with significantly lower plasma glucose, insulin, and C-peptide concentrations in response to graded glucose infusions and in day-long insulin concentrations. Neither insulin resistance nor the insulin secretory response changed after weight loss, whereas there was a significant increase in the rate of insulin clearance during the glucose infusion. It is concluded that 1) obesity is associated with a shift to the left in the glucose-stimulated insulin secretory dose-response curve as well as a decrease in insulin clearance and2) changes in insulin secretion and insulin clearance in obese women are more a function of insulin resistance than obesity.

  • insulin secretion
  • weight loss


  • Address for reprint requests and other correspondence: G. M. Reaven, Shaman Pharmaceuticals, Inc., 213 E. Grand Ave., South San Francisco, CA 94080-4812.

  • The costs of publication of this article were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. The article must therefore be hereby marked “advertisement” in accordance with 18 U.S.C. §1734 solely to indicate this fact.

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