On the paradox insulin resistance/insulin hypersensitivity and obesity: two tales of the same history

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Insulin resistance (IR) associated with obesity represents a well-known risk factor for chronic disease. IR development may occur to hinder stressful conditions to provide an appropriate energetic supply to non-insulin-sensitive tissues. However, conditions of stress turn out to be ‘maladaptive’ in the long term, leading to chronic diseases. Paradoxically, insulin hypersensitivity and/or hypersecretion causing post-prandial hypoglycemia resulting in increased food intake and weight gain, can represent an event preceding obesity and IR. By performing an OGTT in obese or obese-prone individuals we observed that tardive post-prandial hypoglycemia (3h from glucose load) is not a rare event (32%); in 12% of cases it paralleled with low insulin levels, resulting in the ‘true insulin hypersensitivity’. By using Matsuda-method, we confirmed the presence of insulin hypersensitivity in this group. Therefore the early recognition of this phenomenon could be useful as a predictive biomarker to identify patients prone to develop obesity and obesity related-disorders.

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