alpha-Lipoic acid treatment decreases serum lactate and pyruvate concentrations and improves glucose effectiveness in lean and obese patients with type 2 diabetes

Diabetes Care. 1999 Feb;22(2):280-7. doi: 10.2337/diacare.22.2.280.


Objective: We examined the effect of lipoic acid (LA), a cofactor of the pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDH), on insulin sensitivity (SI) and glucose effectiveness (SG) and on serum lactate and pyruvate levels after oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTTs) and modified frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance tests (FSIGTTs) in lean (n = 10) and obese (n = 10) patients with type 2 diabetes.

Research design and methods: FSIGTT data were analyzed by minimal modeling technique to determine SI and SG before and after oral treatment (600 mg, twice a day, for 4 weeks). Serum lactate and pyruvate levels of diabetic patients after glucose loading were compared with those of lean (n = 10) and obese (n = 10) healthy control subjects in which SI and SG were also determined from FSIGTT data.

Results: Fasting lactate and pyruvate levels were significantly increased in patients with type 2 diabetes. These metabolites did not exceed elevated fasting concentrations after glucose loading in lean patients with type 2 diabetes. However, a twofold increase of lactate and pyruvate levels was measured in obese diabetic patients. LA treatment was associated with increased SG in both diabetic groups (lean 1.28 +/- 0.14 to 1.93 +/- 0.13; obese 1.07 +/- 0.11 to 1.53 +/- 0.08 x 10(-2) min-1, P < 0.05). Higher SI and lower fasting glucose were measured in lean diabetic patients only (P < 0.05). Lactate and pyruvate before and after glucose loading were approximately 45% lower in lean and obese diabetic patients after LA treatment.

Conclusions: Treatment of lean and obese diabetic patients with LA prevents hyperglycemia-induced increments of serum lactate and pyruvate levels and increases SG.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood*
  • Fasting
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / blood
  • Insulin / blood
  • Lactates / blood*
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity*
  • Pyruvates / blood*
  • Reference Values
  • Thinness
  • Thioctic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Time Factors
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Insulin
  • Lactates
  • Pyruvates
  • Triglycerides
  • Thioctic Acid