Insulin clamp studies were carried out in 50 individuals, 25 with normal glucose tolerance and 25 with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). Both diagnostic groups were further subdivided on the basis of body mass index (BMI) into an obese (BMI > 28 kg/ m2) or nonobese group (BMI < 28 kg/m2). The obese and nonobese subjects in each diagnostic category had similar plasma glucose levels in response to an oral glucose challenge. In addition, insulin-stimulated glucose utilization, as assessed by determination of glucose metabolic clearance rate (MCR), was not different as a function of obesity. Glucose MCR (mean ± SEM) in obese subjects (mean BMI = 32.1) with normal glucose tolerance was 162 ml/min/m2, as compared with a value of 205 ml/min/m2 in nonobese individuals (mean BMI = 23.8). This difference was not statistically significant. Similarly, glucose MCR in obese patients (mean BMI = 34.7) with NIDDM was 55 ml/min/m2, as compared with a value Of 80 ml/min/ m2 in nonobese subjects (mean BMI = 24.9) with NIDDM. However, as can be seen from the above data, glucose MCR in patients with NIDDM, either nonobese or obese, was markedly reduced (P < 0.001) when compared with that of normal subjects. These data emphasize the profound effect of NIDDM on reducing in vivo insulin action, and point out that the impact of obesity on insulin resistance is minor in comparison.

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