Metabolomic profiling of glucose homeostasis in African Americans: the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Family Study (IRAS-FS)

Hayrettin Okut, Yingchang Lu, Nicholette D. Palmer, Yii Der Ida Chen, Kent D. Taylor, Jill M. Norris, Carlos Lorenzo, Jerome I. Rotter, Carl D. Langefeld, Lynne E. Wagenknecht, Donald W. Bowden, Maggie C.Y. Ng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Introduction: African Americans are at increased risk for type 2 diabetes. Objectives: This work aimed to examine metabolomic signature of glucose homeostasis in African Americans. Methods: We used an untargeted liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry metabolomic approach to comprehensively profile 727 plasma metabolites among 571 African Americans from the Insulin Resistance Atherosclerosis Family Study (IRAS-FS) and investigate the associations between these metabolites and both the dynamic (SI, insulin sensitivity; AIR, acute insulin response; DI, disposition index; and SG, glucose effectiveness) and basal (HOMA-IR and HOMA-B) measures of glucose homeostasis using univariate and regularized regression models. We also compared the results with our previous findings in the IRAS-FS Mexican Americans. Results: We confirmed increased plasma metabolite levels of branched-chain amino acids and their metabolic derivatives, 2-aminoadipate, 2-hydroxybutyrate, glutamate, arginine and its metabolic derivatives, carbohydrate metabolites, and medium- and long-chain fatty acids were associated with insulin resistance, while increased plasma metabolite levels in the glycine, serine and threonine metabolic pathway were associated with insulin sensitivity. We also observed a differential ancestral effect of glutamate on glucose homeostasis with significantly stronger effects observed in African Americans than those previously observed in Mexican Americans. Conclusion: We extended the observations that metabolites are useful biomarkers in the identification of prediabetes in individuals at risk of type 2 diabetes in African Americans. We revealed, for the first time, differential ancestral effect of certain metabolites (i.e., glutamate) on glucose homeostasis traits. Our study highlights the need for additional comprehensive metabolomic studies in well-characterized multiethnic cohorts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number35
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • African Americans
  • Glucose homeostasis
  • Metabolomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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