Clinical Science| Volume 62, ISSUE 3, P417-423, March 2013

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Effects of an overnight intravenous lipid infusion on intramyocellular lipid content and insulin sensitivity in African–American versus Caucasian adolescents

  • SoJung Lee
    Division of Weight Management & Wellness, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, 15224
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  • Chris Boesch
    Department of Clinical Research/AMSM, University of Bern, Pavilion 52 Inselspital, Bern CH-3010, Switzerland
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  • Jennifer L. Kuk
    School of Kinesiology and Health Science, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M3J 1P3
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  • Silva Arslanian
    Corresponding author. Division of Weight Management & Wellness, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, 4401 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15224, U.S.A. Tel.: +1 (412) 692 6565; fax: +1 412 692 6783.
    Division of Weight Management & Wellness, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, 15224

    Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes Mellitus, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, 15224
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Published:November 05, 2012DOI:



      To explain the predisposition for insulin resistance among African American (AA) adolescents, this study aimed to: 1) examine changes in intramyocellular lipid content (IMCL), and insulin sensitivity with intralipid (IL) infusion; and 2) determine whether the increase in IMCL is comparable between AA and Caucasian adolescents.

      Materials and Methods

      Thirteen AA and 15 Caucasian normal-weight adolescents (BMI <85th) underwent a 3-h hyperinsulinemic–euglycemic clamp, on two occasions in random order, after an overnight 12-h infusion of: 1) 20% IL and 2) normal saline (NS). IMCL was quantified by 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy in tibialis anterior muscle before and after IL infusion.


      During IL infusion, plasma TG, glycerol, FFA and fat oxidation increased significantly, with no race differences. Hepatic insulin sensitivity decreased with IL infusion with no difference between the groups. IL infusion was associated with a significant increase in IMCL, which was comparable between AA (Δ 105%; NS: 1.9±0.8 vs. IL: 3.9±1.6 mmol/kg wet weight) and Caucasian (Δ 86%; NS: 2.8±2.1 vs. IL: 5.2±2.4 mmol/kg wet weight), with similar reductions (P<0.01) in insulin sensitivity between the groups (Δ −44%: NS: 9.1±3.3 vs. IL: 5.1±1.8 mg/kg/min per μU/ml in AA) and (Δ −39%: NS: 12.9±6.0 vs. IL: 7.9±3.8 mg/kg/min per μU/ml in Caucasian) adolescents.


      In healthy adolescents, an acute elevation in plasma FFA with IL infusion is accompanied by significant increases in IMCL and reductions in insulin sensitivity with no race differential. Our findings suggest that AA normal-weight adolescents are not more susceptible than Caucasians to FFA-induced IMCL accumulation and insulin resistance.


      AA (African American), C (Caucasian), IL (Intralipid), NS (Normal saline), IMCL (Intramyocellular lipid), TG (Triglyceride), FFA (Free fatty acids)


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