Microbially-produced acetate has been reported to beneficially affect metabolic health through effects on satiety, energy expenditure, insulin sensitivity, and substrate utilization. Here, we investigate the association between sex-specific concentrations of acetate and insulin sensitivity/resistance indices (Homeostatic Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance (HOMA-IR), circulating insulin and Matsuda Index) in the Diet, Obesity and Genes (DiOGenes) Dietary study at baseline and after a low-calorie diet (LCD, 800 kcal/d). In this analysis, 692 subjects (Body Mass Index >27 kg/m2) were included, who underwent an LCD for 8 weeks. Linear mixed models were performed, which were adjusted for mean acetate concentration, center (random factor), age, weight loss, and fat-free mass (FFM). At baseline, no associations between plasma acetate and insulin sensitivity/resistance indices were found. We found a slight positive association between changes in acetate and changes in HOMA-IR (std 0.130, p = 0.033) in women, but not in men (std -0.072, p = 0.310) independently of age, weight loss and FFM. We were not able to confirm previously reported associations between acetate and insulin sensitivity in this large European cohort. The mechanisms behind the sex-specific relationship between LCD-induced changes in acetate and insulin sensitivity require further study.
Keywords: insulin resistance; obesity; short chain fatty acids; weight loss.