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Plasma Metabolic Signatures of Healthy Overweight Subjects Challenged With an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test

Frontiers in Nutrition – 2022


Jarlei Fiamoncini, Carlos M. Donado-Pestana, Graziela Biude Silva Duarte, Milena Rundle, Elizabeth Louise Thomas, Yoana Kiselova-Kaneva, Thomas E. Gundersen, Diana Bunze, Jean-Pierre Trezzi, Sabine E. Kulling, Karsten Hiller, Denise Sonntag, Diana Ivanova, Lorraine Brennan, Suzan Wopereis, Ben van Ommen, Gary Frost, Jimmy Bell, Christian A. Drevon, and Hannelore Daniel


Frontiers in Nutrition



Insulin secretion following ingestion of a carbohydrate load affects a multitude of metabolic pathways that simultaneously change direction and quantity of interorgan fluxes of sugars, lipids and amino acids. In the present study, we aimed at identifying markers associated with differential responses to an OGTT a population of healthy adults. By use of three metabolite profiling platforms, we assessed these postprandial responses of a total of 202 metabolites in plasma of 72 healthy volunteers undergoing comprehensive phenotyping and of which half enrolled into a weight-loss program over a three-month period. A standard oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) served as dietary challenge test to identify changes in postprandial metabolite profiles. Despite classified as healthy according to WHO criteria, two discrete clusters (A and B) were identified based on the postprandial glucose profiles with a balanced distribution of volunteers based on gender and other measures. Cluster A individuals displayed 26% higher postprandial glucose levels, delayed glucose clearance and increased fasting plasma concentrations of more than 20 known biomarkers of insulin resistance and diabetes previously identified in large cohort studies. The volunteers identified by canonical postprandial responses that form cluster A may be called pre-pre-diabetics and defined as “at risk” for development of insulin resistance. Moreover, postprandial changes in selected fatty acids and complex lipids, bile acids, amino acids, acylcarnitines and sugars like mannose revealed marked differences in the responses seen in cluster A and cluster B individuals that sustained over the entire challenge test period of 240 min. Almost all metabolites, including glucose and insulin, returned to baseline values at the end of the test (at 240 min), except a variety of amino acids and here those that have been linked to diabetes development. Analysis of the corresponding metabolite profile in a fasting blood sample may therefore allow for early identification of these subjects at risk for insulin resistance without the need to undergo an OGTT.