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Branched-chain and aromatic amino acids and cardiometabolic risk in black African and Asian Indian populations

Khambule, L.
Snyman, T.
Norris, S.A.
Crowther, N.J.
George, J.A.
Introduction: Studies have shown that systemic levels of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) and aromatic amino acids (AAAs) are elevated in cardiometabolic diseases (CMDs) in populations resident in high income countries. However, little is known about the association of BCAAs and AAAs with metabolic syndrome and its components in Asian Indian (AI) and Black African (BA) populations. Objective: The aim of this study was to describe the association of BCAAs and AAAs with the metabolic syndrome, its individual components and insulin resistance in AI and BA populations. Methods: Serum samples collected from AI (n = 349) and BA (n = 369) subjects were used to measure levels of BCAAs and AAAs by ultra-pressure liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS). Anthropometric, demographic and cardiometabolic variables were measured in all subjects. Results: The sum of BCAAs and AAAs was higher in AIs compared to BAs. The BCAAs and AAAs were positively associated with insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and its individual components. This was particularly the case for AI subjects, in unadjusted regression models. However, these associations were non-significant after adjusting for co-variates, particularly visceral adipose tissue (VAT). Triglyceride levels were significantly associated with valine and leucine levels in BAs even after adjustment for co-variates. Lastly, we found that fasting circulatory BCAA and AAA levels are strongly correlated with VAT in both populations. Conclusion: This study identified specific associations of serum valine and leucine levels with triglycerides in BAs. The association of amino acids with CMDs was observed in AIs, but was found to be the result of confounding by VAT. Further studies are required to determine whether BCAAs and AAAs are aetiological factors in CMDs and how VAT modulates their serum levels.
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Springer Nature
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Amino-acids , Ethnicity , Metabolic syndrome , Triglyceride levels , Visceral adipose tissue
Khambule L, Snyman T, Norris SA, Crowther NJ, George JA. Branched-chain and aromatic amino acids and cardiometabolic risk in Black African and Asian Indian populations. Metabolomics. 2020 Oct 8;16(10):108. doi: 10.1007/s11306-020-01734-7.
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