Insulin sensitivity and plasma homocysteine concentrations in non-diabetic obese and normal weight subjects

Vivian A. Fonseca, Louis M. Fink, Philip A. Kern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine whether plasma homocysteine (tHcy) levels were related to insulin resistance and obesity in subjects without diabetes or vascular disease. Research design and methods: We studied correlates of plasma tHcy in 26 subjects covering a wide spectrum of obesity and insulin sensitivity (SI). The measurement of in vivo insulin sensitivity was performed using the minimal model analysis of the frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test (FSIVGTT). Results: There was no relationship between tHcy and body mass index. There was a significant relationship between plasma tHcy and SI (r=0.53, P=0.006), demonstrating that the more insulin sensitive subjects had higher levels of tHcy. On log transformation of the plasma insulin values, log insulin correlated negatively with plasma tHcy (r=-0.47; P=0.02). None of the subjects were deficient in vitamin B12 and folate. Plasma vitamin B12 was significantly related to plasma tHcy (r=-0.44, P=0.017), although we found no significant relationship between plasma folate and tHcy (r=-0.21, P=0.27). SI correlated significantly with vitamin B12 (r=0.4, P=0.045) whereas, we found no significant relationship between SI and plasma folate (r=0.27, P=0.2). On multiple linear regression using tHcy as the dependent variable, SI and vitamin B12 remained significant predictors of plasma tHcy, whereas, age and plasma folate were not predictors of tHcy. Conclusions: We conclude that in vitamin replete lean and obese individuals, insulin sensitivity correlates significantly with plasma tHcy. This relationship may need to be considered when evaluating the role of plasma homocysteine as a risk factor in patients with obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-109
Number of pages5
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Dr Fonseca is supported in part by Grant in aid from the American Heart Association, Southeast affiliate # 0151000B. Diabetes Research at Tulane University Health Sciences Center is supported in part by the Tullis Tulane Alumni chair in Diabetes and the John C. Cudd memorial fund. Dr Kern is supported by Grant number M01RR14288 of the General Clinical Research Center, A Merit Review Grant from the Veterans Administration, and DK 39176 from the National Institutes of Health.


  • Diabetes
  • Homocysteine
  • Insulin sensitivity
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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