In this study, total body fat content and fat topography were related to glucose metabolism in the basal and insulin-stimulated states in 18 nonobese and 18 obese premenopausal nondiabetic women. All subjects received a euglycemic insulin (20 mU.min-1.m2) clamp study in combination with [3-3H]-D-glucose infusion and indirect calorimetry to quantitate total body glucose uptake, glucose oxidation, and nonoxidative glucose disposal. Total body fat content was determined with tritiated water, whereas body fat distribution was estimated from the WHR, the STR, and the VSR (measured by magnetic resonance imaging). In the postabsorptive state, total body glucose utilization, glucose oxidation, and nonoxidative glucose disposal rates were similar in nonobese and obese women, whereas during the insulin clamp all three metabolic parameters were reduced significantly in the obese group. In nonobese women, total body fat content was related inversely to both total and nonoxidative glucose disposal during the insulin clamp, whereas no relationship was found between glucose metabolism (total, oxidative, and nonoxidative) and WHR, STR, or VSR. In contrast, in obese women, no relationship was observed between total body fat content and any measure of insulin-mediated glucose metabolism. However, both WHR and VSR were related inversely to total, oxidative, and nonoxidative glucose disposal rates during the insulin clamp. These results suggest that total body fat content and body fat topography are associated differently with insulin-mediated glucose metabolism in nonobese and obese women. In the nonobese women, total body fat mass appears to be a primary determinant of tissue sensitivity to insulin, whereas in obese women, body fat topography exerts a more dominant effect.
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