Acanthosis Nigricans Identifies Youth at High Risk for Metabolic Abnormalities

Wendy J. Brickman*, Jie Huang, Bernard L. Silverman, Boyd E. Metzger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine the prevalence of abnormal glucose homeostasis and cardiovascular risk factors in youth with acanthosis nigricans (AN). Study design: Youth (8-14 years) were recruited from community pediatric offices. Each subject underwent a questionnaire, a targeted physical examination, and an oral glucose tolerance test. Results: Subjects (n = 236) with AN of the neck (AN+) (60% Hispanic, 30% African American, 54% female, body mass index [BMI] z-score 2.3 kg/m2) and 51 youth without AN (65% Hispanic, 22% African American, 37% female, BMI z-score 2.1 kg/m2) completed the study. Twenty-nine percent of the AN+ group had abnormal glucose homeostasis, 27% had systolic blood pressure > 95th percentile, and 50% had high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol ≤5th percentile. Once corrected for sex, puberty, maternal education, and BMI z-score, AN remained significantly associated with insulin resistance and abnormal glucose homeostasis. For youth in the AN+ group, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance, female sex, and positive glutamic acid decarboxylase antibodies remained significantly and independently associated with impaired glucose tolerance. Conclusions: Youth in the AN+ group had severe insulin resistance, and more than 1 in 4 already had abnormal glucose homeostasis. AN identified a high-risk population, for whom appropriate interventions have the potential to attenuate or even prevent the development of diabetes and further metabolic abnormalities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-92
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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