Insulin resistance and acanthosis nigricans: Evidence for a postbinding defect in vivo

Pinchas Cohen, Chava Harel, Reuven Bergman, Deeb Daoud, Zeev Pam, Nir Barzilai, Michal Armoni, Eddy Karnieli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Acanthosis nigricans (AN) with insulin resistance has been traditionally attributed to insulin receptor abnormalities. To further clarify the postbinding defects of in vivo insulin action in this state, we applied the euglycemic insulin clamp technique, combined with the glucose trace infusion method, to 26 subjects: 12 AN patients (eight normoglycemic and four hyperglycemic), eight obese, and eight lean control subjects. The normoglycemic AN group exhibited fasting hyperinsulinemia (666% of control), 160% elevated hepatic glucose production (HGP), 425% increased posthepatic insulin delivery rate, and only slightly reduced (19%) insulin clearance rates, compared with controls. Except for the latter, all these abnormalities were statistically significant (P < .05), and could not be accounted for by body overweight. AN patients with diabetes mellitus (AN + DM) exhibited a further decreased insulin responsiveness (30%) and clearance (38%), together with a major increase in HGP (320%). All AN patients showed a significant right-shift in the insulin dose-response curve, indicating a decrease in insulin sensitivity. In conclusion, AN is characterized by increased basal rates of HGP, and peripheral insulin resistance, which can be partially attibuted to postbinding defects. In AN + DM, a worsening of these abnormalities may be responsible for unmasking the existence of diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1006-1011
Number of pages6
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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