Heterogeneity in the effect of marked weight loss on metabolic function in women with obesity

Bettina Mittendorfer, Brandon D. Kayser, Mihoko Yoshino, Jun Yoshino, Jeramie D. Watrous, Mohit Jain, J. Christopher Eagon, Bruce W. Patterson, Samuel Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. There is considerable heterogeneity in the effect of weight loss on metabolic function in people with obesity. METHODS. We evaluated muscle and liver insulin sensitivity, body composition, and circulating factors associated with insulin action before and after approximately 20% weight loss in women identified as “Responders” (n = 11) or “Non-responders” (n = 11), defined as the top (>75% increase) and bottom (<5% increase) quartiles of the weight loss–induced increase in glucose disposal rate (GDR) during a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp procedure, among 43 women with obesity (BMI: 44.1 ± 7.9 kg/m2). RESULTS. At baseline, GDR, which provides an index of muscle insulin sensitivity, and the hepatic insulin sensitivity index were more than 50% lower in Responders than Non-responders, but both increased much more after weight loss in Responders than Non-responders, which eliminated the differences between groups. Weight loss also caused greater decreases in intrahepatic triglyceride content and plasma adiponectin and PAI-1 concentrations in Responders than Non-responders and greater insulin-mediated suppression of plasma free fatty acids, branched-chain amino acids, and C3/C5 acylcarnitines in Non-responders than Responders, so that differences between groups at baseline were no longer present after weight loss. The effect of weight loss on total body fat mass, intra-abdominal adipose tissue volume, adipocyte size, and circulating inflammatory markers were not different between groups. CONCLUSION. The results from our study demonstrate that the heterogeneity in the effects of marked weight loss on muscle and hepatic insulin sensitivity in people with obesity is determined by baseline insulin action, and reaches a ceiling when “normal” insulin action is achieved.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere169541
JournalJCI Insight
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2023


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