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Fasting and Postload Nonesterified Fatty Acids and Glucose Dysregulation in Older Adults.


To evaluate the association of nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA) with dysglycemia in older adults, NEFA levels were measured among participants in the Cardiovascular Health Study (United States; enrolled 1989-1993). Associations with insulin sensitivity and pancreatic β-cell function, and with incident type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM), were examined. The sample comprised 2,144 participants (aged 77.9 (standard deviation, 4.5) years). Participant data from the Cardiovascular Health Study visit in 1996-1997 was used with prospective follow-up through 2010. Fasting and postload NEFA showed significant associations with lower insulin sensitivity and pancreatic β-cell function, individually and on concurrent adjustment. Over median follow-up of 9.7 years, 236 cases of DM occurred. Postload NEFA were associated with risk of DM (per standard deviation, hazard ratio = 1.18, 95% confidence interval: 1.08, 1.29), but fasting NEFA were not (hazard ratio = 1.12, 95% confidence interval: 0.97, 1.29). The association for postload NEFA persisted after adjustment for putative intermediates, and after adjustment for fasting NEFA. Sex and body mass index modified these associations, which were stronger for fasting NEFA with DM in men but were accentuated for postload NEFA in women and among leaner individuals. Fasting and postload NEFA were related to lower insulin sensitivity and pancreatic β-cell function, but only postload NEFA were associated with increased DM. Additional study into NEFA metabolism could uncover novel potential targets for diabetes prevention in elders.

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