Development of hyperinsulinemia and insulin resistance during the early stage of weight gain

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Mar;294(3):E568-75. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00560.2007. Epub 2008 Jan 2.


Obesity is associated with insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia, which is considered to be a core component in the pathophysiology of obesity-related comorbidities. As yet it is unknown whether insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia already develop during weight gain within the normal range. In 10 healthy male subjects the effect of intentional weight gain by 2 BMI points was examined on insulin. C-peptide and glucose levels following a meal, 75 g of glucose, and a two-step hyperglycemic clamp increased plasma glucose by 1.38 and 2.75 mmol/l, respectively. Baseline insulin, C-peptide, and glucose concentrations were significantly higher after weight gain from 21.8 to 23.8 kg/m(2) BMI within 4(1/2) mo. Calculations of insulin secretion and clearance indicate that reduced insulin clearance contributes more to post-weight gain basal hyperinsulinemia than insulin secretion. Following oral or intravenous stimulation insulin concentrations were significantly higher post-weight gain during all three test conditions, whereas C-peptide and glucose levels did not differ. Calculations of insulin secretion and clearance demonstrated that higher stimulated insulin concentrations are entirely due to clearance but not secretion. Despite significantly higher insulin levels, the rate of intravenous glucose required to maintain the defined elevation of glucose levels was either identical (1.38 mmol/l) or even significantly lower (2.75 mmol/l) following weight gain. The present study demonstrates for the first time that insulin resistance already develops during weight gain within the normal range of body weight. The associated basal and stimulated hyperinsulinemia is the result of differentiated changes of insulin secretion and clearance, respectively.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Body Mass Index
  • C-Peptide / blood
  • Glucose / administration & dosage
  • Glucose Clamp Technique
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Hyperinsulinism / etiology*
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Weight Gain / physiology*


  • Blood Glucose
  • C-Peptide
  • Insulin
  • Glucose