Effects of an acute decrease in non-esterified fatty acid levels on muscle glucose utilization and forearm indirect calorimetry in lean NIDDM patients

P. M. Piatti, L. D. Monti, S. N. Davis, M. Conti, M. D. Brown, G. Pozza, K. G M M Alberti

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The aim of the study was to evaluate an acute decrease in NEFA levels during an oral glucose tolerance test and its effects on glucose tolerance, muscle glucose uptake and muscle indirect calorimetry in ten lean non-insulin-dependent diabetic subjects. Two 75-g oral glucose tolerance tests were performed in random order. Placebo or 250 mg acipimox (to inhibit lipolysis) were administered orally 2 h before the start of the oral glucose tolerance test. Two hours after acipimox administration (time 0), non-esterified fatty acid, glycerol and 3-hydroxybutyrate levels decreased by 84, 68 and 77% respectively, compared to basal levels. Concomitantly, muscle lipid oxidation and non-oxidative glycolysis also decreased significantly. After placebo administration, non-esterified fatty acids, glycerol and 3-hydroxybutyrate and lipid oxidation increased by 29, 28, 106 and 33%, respectively (NS vs basal levels; p <0.001 vs acipimox). There was a negative rate of net glucose storage (interpreted as glycogenolysis) during post-absorptive conditions and at time 0 after administration of both drugs. After oral glucose tolerance test, the incremental areas of blood glucose and insulin were signif icantly decreased by 18 and 19% after acipimox compared to placebo. In addition, the ratio between the incremental area of forearm muscle glucose uptake and the insulin levels was significantly increased by 45% during acipimox compared to placebo administration. Glucose oxidation and non-oxidative glycolysis were significantly higher while lipid oxidation was significantly lower after acipimox than after placebo. In conclusion, our study found that in lean non-insulin-dependent diabetic subjects, an acute decrease in non-esterified fatty acid levels improves glucose tolerance, muscle glucose uptake, glucose oxidation and non-oxidative glycolysis, but is unable to normalize glucose storage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-112
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1996


  • Acipimox
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Insulin sensitivity
  • Muscle indirect calorimetry
  • Non-esterified fatty acids
  • Non-insulin-dependent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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