, Volume 55, Issue 1, pp 175-182
Date: 17 Sep 2011

High cerebral insulin sensitivity is associated with loss of body fat during lifestyle intervention



Loss of weight and body fat are major targets in lifestyle interventions to prevent diabetes. In the brain, insulin modulates eating behaviour and weight control, resulting in a negative energy balance. This study aimed to test whether cerebral insulin sensitivity facilitates reduction of body weight and body fat by lifestyle intervention in humans.


The study was performed as an additional arm of the TUebingen Lifestyle Intervention Program (TULIP). In 28 non-diabetic individuals (14 female/14 male; mean ± SE age 42 ± 2 years; mean ± SE BMI 29.9 ± 0.8 kg/m2), we measured cerebrocortical insulin sensitivity by using magnetoencephalography before lifestyle intervention. Total and visceral fat were measured by using MRI at baseline and after 9 months and 2 years of lifestyle intervention.


Insulin-stimulated cerebrocortical theta activity at baseline correlated with a reduction in total adipose tissue (r = −0.59, p = 0.014) and visceral adipose tissue (r = −0.76, p = 0.001) after 9 months of lifestyle intervention, accompanied by a statistical trend for reduction in body weight change (r = −0.37, p = 0.069). Similar results were obtained after 2 years.


Our results suggest that high insulin sensitivity of the human brain facilitates loss of body weight and body fat during lifestyle intervention.