Objectives The vulnerability of individuals with the metabolic syndrome (MetS) to cardiovascular events (CVEs) is attenuated by increased cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF), despite the presence of obesity as a usual component of MetS. To better understand the importance of CRF and body fat in treating this condition, we investigated the relationship between fitness and fatness with pancreatic beta cell function (BCF) indices that are known independent predictors of CVEs. Design Cross sectional study. Methods This study included 84 individuals with MetS. BCF indices were derived from a fasted steady state (basal disposition index [DI], proinsulin, proinsulin:insulin, and proinsulin:C-peptide) and dynamic conditions via an oral glucose tolerance test (1st and 2nd phase DI). CRF and body fat percentage (BF%) were assessed via indirect calorimetry (during a maximal exercise test) and dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, respectively. Results CRF was positively associated with basal DI (r = 0.40, p < 0.001), 1st phase DI (r = 0.49, p < 0.005), and 2nd phase DI (r = 0.38, p = 0.02). Hierarchical multiple regression analysis showed CRF was associated with basal DI (β = 0.18, p = 0.04), 1st phase DI (β = 0.36, p = 0.04), and 2nd phase DI (β = 0.33, p = 0.03), independent of BF% and other confounding factors including age, sex, diabetic status, anthropometric measures, lipid profile, and insulin sensitivity. No significant associations were found between CRF and proinsulin measures. BF% was not significantly correlated with BCF indices. Conclusions Increased CRF was independently associated with enhanced BCF. This study provides evidence that equal, if not more attention should be dedicated to CRF improvement relative to fat-loss for favorable pancreatic BCF and thus possible reduction in CV risk in individuals with MetS.
- beta cells
- Insulin sensitivity