Background & aims: 3-Hydroxyisobutyrate (3-HIB), a catabolic intermediate of the BCAA valine, which stimulates muscle fatty acid uptake, has been implicated in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance. We tested the hypothesis that circulating 3-HIB herald insulin resistance and that metabolic improvement with weight loss are related to changes in BCAAs and 3-HIB.
Methods and results: We analyzed plasma and urine in 109 overweight to obese individuals before and after six months on hypocaloric diets reduced in either carbohydrates or fat. We calculated the homeostasis model assessment index (HOMA-IR) and whole body insulin sensitivity from oral glucose tolerance tests and measured intramyocellular fat by magnetic resonance spectroscopy. BCAAs and 3-HIB plasma concentrations were inversely related to insulin sensitivity but not to intramyocellular fat content at baseline. With 7.4 ± 4.5% weight loss mean BCAA and 3-HIB plasma concentrations did not change, irrespective of dietary macronutrient content. Individual changes in 3-HIB with 6-month diet but not BCAAs were correlated to the change in whole body insulin sensitivity and HOMA-IR independently of BMI changes.
Conclusions: 3-HIB relates to insulin sensitivity but is not associated with intramyocellular fat content in overweight to obese individuals. Moreover, changes in 3-HIB rather than changes in BCAAs are associated with metabolic improvements with weight loss. Registration number for clinical trials: ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT00956566.
Keywords: Insulin sensitivity; Intramyocellular fat; Weight loss.
Copyright © 2017 The Italian Society of Diabetology, the Italian Society for the Study of Atherosclerosis, the Italian Society of Human Nutrition, and the Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, Federico II University. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.