Defect in insulin binding to receptors in obese man. Amelioration with calorie restriction.


With insulin at 0.1 ng/ml, the binding of (125I)insulin in vitro to circulating lymphocytes from 11 obese patients was less than that observed with cells from 10 thin volunteers. Furthermore, with obese cells, unlabeled insulin was less effective in competing with labeled hormone for binding, both at low and high concentrations of unlabeled insulin. These differences were not accounted for by the high concentrations of insulin in the circulation of the obese patients at the time fthe blood was drawn, or by differences in degradation of hormone, or in the characteristics of the cell population. The decrease in binding appears to be due to a lowering of the receptor concentration, but some loss of affinity has not been excluded. Institution of a calorie restricted diet (nine patients) which ameliorated the hyperinsulinemia, produced an improvement in hormone binding. Since the insulin receptors of lymphocytes in metabolic disorders seem to reflect the state of insulin receptors or target cells such as liver and fat, the lymphocytes or other leukocytes appear to be ideal for studies of impaired cell responsiveness to hormones in man.

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