Sex differences in biomarkers associated with insulin resistance in obese adolescents: metabolomic profiling and principal components analysis.


Journal Article

Obesity and insulin resistance (IR) predispose to type 2 diabetes mellitus. Yet only half of obese adolescents have IR and far fewer progress to type 2 diabetes mellitus. We hypothesized that amino acid and fatty acid metabolites may serve as biomarkers or determinants of IR in obese teens.Fasting blood samples were analyzed by tandem mass spectrometry in 82 obese adolescents. A principal components analysis and multiple linear regression models were used to correlate metabolic components with surrogate measures of IR: homeostasis model assessment index of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), adiponectin, and triglyceride (TG) to high-density lipoprotein (HDL) ratio.Branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) levels and products of BCAA catabolism were higher (P < .01) in males than females with comparable body mass index (BMI) z-score. In multivariate analyses, HOMA-IR in males correlated positively with BMI z-score and a metabolic signature containing BCAA, uric acid, and long-chain acylcarnitines and negatively with byproducts of complete fatty acid oxidation (R(2) = 0.659, P < .0001). In contrast, only BMI z-score correlated with HOMA-IR in females. Adiponectin correlated inversely with BCAA and uric acid (R(2) = 0.268, P = .0212) in males but not females. TG to HDL ratio correlated with BMI z-score and the BCAA signature in females but not males.BCAA levels and byproducts of BCAA catabolism are higher in obese teenage boys than girls of comparable BMI z-score. A metabolic signature comprising BCAA and uric acid correlates positively with HOMA-IR in males and TG to HDL ratio in females and inversely with adiponectin in males but not females. Likewise, byproducts of fatty acid oxidation associate inversely with HOMA-IR in males but not females. Our findings underscore the roles of sex differences in metabolic function and outcomes in pediatric obesity.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Newbern, D; Gumus Balikcioglu, P; Balikcioglu, M; Bain, J; Muehlbauer, M; Stevens, R; Ilkayeva, O; Dolinsky, D; Armstrong, S; Irizarry, K; Freemark, M

Published Date

  • December 2014

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 99 / 12

Start / End Page

  • 4730 - 4739

PubMed ID

  • 25202817

Pubmed Central ID

  • 25202817

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1945-7197

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0021-972X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1210/jc.2014-2080


  • eng