To evaluate the early metabolic alterations induced by obesity, we studied glucose turnover and lipid levels in obese children with fasting normoinsulinaemia. Two experimental protocols were carried out. Protocol I consisted of a euglycaemic glucose clamp at two rates of insulin infusion. Protocol II was similar to protocol I except for a variable lipid infusion used to maintain basal non-esterified fatty acid (NEFA) levels. During protocol I, the glucose disappearance rates were lower in obese children, while no differences were found in hepatic glucose release. NEFA response to insulin was not substantially altered in obese children either at low or high insulin infusion. During protocol II, the NEFA clamp induced a 25% reduction in peripheral insulin sensitivity in control children whereas no changes were observed in obese children. Interestingly, lipid infusion in control children was not sufficient to reproduce the same degree of insulin resistance observed in obese children, suggesting that NEFA are only one of the determinants of insulin resistance at this stage of obesity. In conclusion, the present study provides a portrait of glucose metabolism and lipid levels in normoinsulinaemic obese children. Our results document that peripheral insulin resistance is the first alteration at this stage of obesity, whereas an increase in insulin secretion and a defect in the inhibition of hepatic glucose release by insulin may develop at a later stage. In addition, primarily receptor and post-receptor defects and some alterations of NEFA metabolism are likely to coexist in the induction of insulin resistance at this stage of obesity.
- glucose turnover
- insulin action
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism