Branched-chain and aromatic amino acid profiles and diabetes risk in Chinese populations

Sci Rep. 2016 Feb 5;6:20594. doi: 10.1038/srep20594.


Recent studies revealed strong evidence that branched-chain and aromatic amino acids (BCAAs and AAAs) are closely associated with the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in several Western countries. The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential role of BCAAs and AAAs in predicting the diabetes development in Chinese populations. The serum levels of valine, leucine, isoleucine, tyrosine, and phenylalanine were measured in a longitudinal and a cross sectional studies with a total of 429 Chinese participants at different stages of diabetes development, using an ultra-performance liquid chromatography triple quadruple mass spectrometry platform. The alterations of the five AAs in Chinese populations are well in accordance with previous reports. Early elevation of the five AAs and their combined score was closely associated with future development of diabetes, suggesting an important role of these metabolites as early markers of diabetes. On the other hand, the five AAs were not as good as existing clinical markers in differentiating diabetic patients from their healthy counterparts. Our findings verified the close correlation of BCAAs and AAAs with insulin resistance and future development of diabetes in Chinese populations and highlighted the predictive value of these markers for future development of diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amino Acids, Aromatic / blood*
  • Amino Acids, Branched-Chain / blood*
  • China
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isoleucine / blood
  • Leucine / blood
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Middle Aged
  • Phenylalanine / blood
  • Risk Factors
  • Tyrosine / blood
  • Valine / blood
  • Young Adult


  • Amino Acids, Aromatic
  • Amino Acids, Branched-Chain
  • Isoleucine
  • Tyrosine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Leucine
  • Valine