Bed rest worsens impairments in fat and glucose metabolism in older, overweight adults

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2014 Mar;69(3):363-70. doi: 10.1093/gerona/glt100. Epub 2013 Jul 31.


Background: The effects of bed rest on the dysregulation of fatty acid and glucose metabolism have not been addressed in the older population.

Objective: We examined the effect of 10 days of bed rest on fatty acid kinetics and hepatic and peripheral insulin resistance in aging.

Methods: We utilized an octreotide, basal glucagon replacement, multistage insulin infusion, and the concomitant infusion of [6,6 (2)H₂]glucose to derive insulin-mediated suppression of glucose production and insulin-stimulated glucose disposal in nine older, overweight individuals (body mass index 28.1 ± 1.7 kg m(-2); 39.9% ± 1.9% fat). During the multistage insulin infusion, we also infused [1-(13)C]palmitate to examine free fatty acid rate of appearance (R(a)).

Results: Body weight, % body fat, and energy metabolism did not change with bed rest. There was a significant decrease (-2291 ± 316 cm(3)) in visceral fat, and no change in abdominal subcutaneous fat with bed rest. Insulin-mediated suppression of glucose production was modest prior to bed rest and was further reduced (>15% ± 2%) by bed rest. There was also a minor decrease in the insulin-mediated suppression of free fatty acid R(a) after bed rest and, as a consequence, a small variation in plasma free fatty acid from pre- to post-bed rest in the first stage of the multistage insulin infusion. There was also a significant bed rest-induced decline (>2.0 ± 0.6 mg kg FFM(-1) min(-1)) in insulin-stimulated glucose disposal.

Conclusions: Preexisting impairments in insulin sensitivity are worsened by bed rest and seem linked to alterations in the regulation of free fatty acid in older, overweight individuals.

Keywords: Hospitalization; Inactivity; Metabolic disease..

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Bed Rest*
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Body Composition
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / metabolism
  • Female
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Insulin / administration & dosage
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / metabolism
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Octreotide / administration & dosage
  • Overweight / metabolism*
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Palmitates / administration & dosage
  • Palmitates / blood
  • Subcutaneous Fat, Abdominal / metabolism
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Blood Glucose
  • Fatty Acids
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin
  • Palmitates
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol
  • Glucose
  • Octreotide