Levels of dimethylguanidino valeric acid, a metabolite that was recently determined to be a circulating biomarker of liver fat, correlated with improved lipid traits and insulin sensitivity after study participants underwent endurance exercise training.
Jeremy M. Robbins, MD, from the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Massachusetts, and colleagues explained in their study that circulating levels of dimethylguanidino valeric acid (DMGV) are higher in individuals with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, are associated with type 2 diabetes, and that levels decreased significantly in individuals after weight loss surgery.
“These findings raise additional questions about the temporal association of DMGV with the onset of metabolic disease and whether more readily available lifestyle interventions such as exercise may be associated with its levels,” they wrote. “Thus, we sought to investigate DMGV’s association with metabolic health, including its response to exercise training.”
The Health, Risk Factors, Exercise Training, and Genetics (HERITAGE) Family Study comprised 437 participants with mean age of 36 years and a median BMI of 25 kg/m2. They completed 20 weeks of exercise, including 3 days a week for a total of 60 sessions.
The researchers found significant, positive correlations at baseline between DMGV levels and the following traits: adverse body weight and composition, lipid and lipoprotein, and glucose and insulin homeostasis traits after adjustment for age, sex and BMI.
At the end of the 20 weeks, the observed decreases in DMGV levels correlated positively with changes in small HDL particles (beta = 0.14; 95% CI, 0.05-0.23) and correlated inversely with changes in medium (beta = 0.15; 95% CI, 0.24 to 0.05) and total HDL particles (beta = 0.19; 95% CI, 0.28 to 0.1), apolipoprotein A1 (beta = 0.14; 95% CI, 0.23 to 0.05) and insulin sensitivity (beta = 0.13; P=3x103) after adjusting for age, sex and BMI.
“These results further support DMGV as a marker of liver fat. Visceral adiposity and hepatic fat are highly interconnected, and while each phenotype is associated with metabolic risk factors, a growing body of evidence suggests that fat in the liver may confer cardiometabolic risk independent of general and even visceral fat,” Robbins and colleagues wrote. “DMGV may prove useful in the early detection of subclinical metabolic dysfunction in nonobese individuals.” – by Talitha Bennett
Disclosure: Robbins reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the full study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.