Glucose tolerance, plasma lipoproteins and tissue lipoprotein lipase activities in body builders

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Summary

Oral glucose tolerance, insulin binding to erythrocyte receptors, serum lipids, and lipoproteins, and lipoprotein lipase activities of adipose tissue and skeletal muscle were measured in nine body builders (relative body weight (RBW) 118±4%), eight weight-matched (RBW 120±5%) and seven normal-weight controls (RBW 111±3%). The body builders had 50% higher relative muscle mass of body weight (% muscle) and 50% smaller relative body fat content (% fat) than the two other groups (P<0.005). Maximal aerobic power was comparable in the three groups. In the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), blood glucose levels, and plasma insulin levels were lower (P<0.05) in the body builders than in weight-matched controls. Insulin binding to erythrocytes was similar in each group. On the basis of multiple linear regression analysis, 87% of the variation in plasma insulin response could be explained by body composition (% muscle and % fat) and \(V_{O_2 \max }\) .

Plasma total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) triglyceride concentrations were significantly lower in the body builders than in weight-matched controls. In comparison with the normal-weight group, the body builders had a lower total cholesterol level. High density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, its subfractions (HDL2 and HDL3 cholesterol) and lipoprotein lipase (LPL) activities of adipose tissue and skeletal muscle were comparable in all three groups. Partial correlation analysis showed a positive relationship between plasma total triglyceride, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol on the other hand and the % fat on the other.

The results indicate that a shift in body composition from the adipose to the muscular type is associated with 1) lower glucose and insulin levels during the OGTT and 2) decrease in total and VLDL triglyceride and in total and LDL cholesterol levels but unchanged HDL cholesterol level. Thus, body builders are characterized by some metabolic features which decrease the risk of coronary heart disease. In contrast to aerobic training, body building does not influence HDL or its subfractions.