OBJECTIVE - Elevated circulating levels of branched chain and aromatic amino acids (BCAA/AAAs) are associated with insulin resistance and incident type 2 diabetes (T2D). BCAA/AAAs decrease acutely during an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), a diagnostic test for T2D. It is unknown whether changes in BCAA/AAAs also signal an early response to commonly used medical therapies for T2D.
MATERIALS AND METHODS - A liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry approach was used to measure BCAA/AAAs in 30 insulin sensitive (IS) and 30 insulin resistant (IR) subjects before and after: (1) one dose of a sulfonylurea medication, glipizide, 5 mg orally; (2) two days of twice daily metformin 500 mg orally; and (3) a 75-g OGTT. Percent change in BCAA/AAAs was determined after each intervention.
RESULTS - Following glipizide, which increased insulin and decreased glucose in both subject groups, BCAA/AAAs decreased in the IS subjects only (all P<0.05). Following metformin, which decreased glucose and insulin in only the IR subjects, 4 BCAA/AAAs increased in the IR subjects at or below P=0.05, and none changed in the IS subjects. Following OGTT, which increased glucose and insulin in all subjects, BCAA/AAAs decreased in all subjects (P<0.05).
CONCLUSIONS - BCAA/AAAs changed acutely during glipizide and metformin administration, and the magnitude and direction of change differed by the insulin resistance status of the individual and the intervention. These results indicate that BCAA/AAAs may be useful biomarkers for monitoring the early response to therapeutic interventions for T2D.