OBJECTIVE: To compare insulin sensitivity (Si) from a frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test (FSIGT) and subsequent minimal model analyses with surrogate measures of insulin sensitivity and resistance and to compare features of the metabolic syndrome between Caucasians and Indian Asians living in the UK. SUBJECTS: In all, 27 healthy male volunteers (14 UK Caucasians and 13 UK Indian Asians), with a mean age of 51.2+/-1.5 y, BMI of 25.8+/-0.6 kg/m(2) and Si of 2.85+/-0.37. MEASUREMENTS: Si was determined from an FSIGT with subsequent minimal model analysis. The concentrations of insulin, glucose and nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA) were analysed in fasting plasma and used to calculate surrogate measure of insulin sensitivity (quantitative insulin sensitivity check index (QUICKI), revised QUICKI) and resistance (homeostasis for insulin resistance (HOMA IR), fasting insulin resistance index (FIRI), Bennetts index, fasting insulin, insulin-to-glucose ratio). Plasma concentrations of triacylglycerol (TAG), total cholesterol, high density cholesterol, (HDL-C) and low density cholesterol, (LDL-C) were also measured in the fasted state. Anthropometric measurements were conducted to determine body-fat distribution. RESULTS: Correlation analysis identified the strongest relationship between Si and the revised QUICKI (r=0.67; P=0.000). Significant associations were also observed between Si and QUICKI (r=0.51; P=0.007), HOMA IR (r=-0.50; P=0.009), FIRI and fasting insulin. The Indian Asian group had lower HDL-C (P=0.001), a higher waist-hip ratio (P=0.01) and were significantly less insulin sensitive (Si) than the Caucasian group (P=0.02). CONCLUSION: The revised QUICKI demonstrated a statistically strong relationship with the minimal model. However, it was unable to differentiate between insulin-sensitive and -resistant groups in this study. Future larger studies in population groups with varying degrees of insulin sensitivity are recommended to investigate the general applicability of the revised QUICKI surrogate technique.