The effect of age-dependent increase in fat mass on peripheral insulin action is saturable

Nir Barzilai, Swati Banerjee, Meredith Hawkins, Chee Jen Chang, Wei Chen, Luciano Rossetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Insulin resistance and increased fat mass (FM) are common in human aging. We aimed to investigate the relationship between the age-dependent increase in FM and insulin resistance (by euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp technique), in a homogenous rodent model. The decline in insulin responsiveness was linear until late adulthood when body weight, FM, and epididymal fat reached a critical amount (r > .750, for all). Above this critical point, there was no further decline in insulin responsiveness with aging and with increased BW (p < .00001 for all spline curve analyses). This decline in insulin-mediated glucose uptake was accounted for by a decrease in whole body glycolytic rate with no change in the rate of glycogen synthesis. Thus, in this homogenous model an early increase in FM is associated with impairment in insulin action until a critical FM is achieved, after which there is no additional insulin resistance with aging. We suggest that decreasing insulin responsiveness, in a heterogeneous group such as humans, will only occur within a specific accretion of visceral or total FM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)B141-B146
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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