Insulin effect of leucine kinetics in Type 2 diabetes mellitus

P. G. Halvatsiotis, D. Turk, A. Alzaid, S. Dinneen, R. A. Rizza, K. Sreekumaran Nair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Insulin-induced glucose disposal is impaired in Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). To determine whether insulin-induced suppression of protein breakdown also is impaired, we measured leucine flux (an index of protein breakdown) in diabetic and nondiabetic subjects during a hyperin-sulinemic euglycemic clamp. To avoid the confounding effects of a difference in baseline glucose, glucose concentration in the diabetic subjects was normalized by means of an overnight insulin infusion. Despite higher plasma insulin levels (33.5±0.05 vs 132±2.7 pmol/l, p<01) diabetic subjects had similar amino acid concentrations and leucine flux (96.9±5.8 vs 93.4±3.7 μmol/kg/h) as nondiabetic subjects. Infusion of insulin (0.5 mU/kg/min) increased insulin levels (p<0.01) to identical levels in both groups (218±16 vs 222±19), but the glucose infusion required to maintain euglycemia was higher (p<0.01) in nondiabetic than in diabetic subjects, indicating insulin resistance to glucose disposal in the diabetic subjects. In contrast, leucine flux (81.3±4.8 vs 81.6±3.4 μmol/kg/h) reached identical levels in both groups. The individual and total amino acid levels also were comparable in both groups. We conclude that suppression of whole body protein turnover in response to an acute increase in insulin is normal in people with T2DM. However, chronic adaptation to high insulin levels occurs, thereby enabling protein breakdown and amino acid concentration to remain within the normal range in people with T2DM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-142
Number of pages7
JournalDiabetes, Nutrition and Metabolism - Clinical and Experimental
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002


  • Amino acids
  • Insulin
  • Leucine
  • Protein breakdown
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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