Background And Aims: Insulin resistance is a key factor in the pathogenesis of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). We evaluated the importance of subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue (SAAT) inflammation and both plasma and SAAT–derived exosomes in regulating insulin sensitivity in people with obesity and NAFLD. Methods: Adipose tissue inflammation (macrophage and T-cell content and expression of proinflammatory cytokines), liver and whole-body insulin sensitivity (assessed using a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp and glucose tracer infusion), and 24-hour serial plasma cytokine concentrations were evaluated in 3 groups stratified by adiposity and intrahepatic triglyceride (IHTG) content: (1) lean with normal IHTG content (LEAN; N = 14); (2) obese with normal IHTG content (OB-NL; N = 28); and (3) obese with NAFLD (OB-NAFLD; N = 28). The effect of plasma and SAAT–derived exosomes on insulin-stimulated Akt phosphorylation in human skeletal muscle myotubes and mouse primary hepatocytes was assessed in a subset of participants. Results: Proinflammatory macrophages, proinflammatory CD4 and CD8 T-cell populations, and gene expression of several cytokines in SAAT were greater in the OB-NAFLD than the OB-NL and LEAN groups. However, with the exception of PAI-1, which was greater in the OB-NAFLD than the LEAN and OB-NL groups, 24-hour plasma cytokine concentration areas-under-the-curve were not different between groups. The percentage of proinflammatory macrophages and plasma PAI-1 concentration areas-under-the-curve were inversely correlated with both hepatic and whole-body insulin sensitivity. Compared with exosomes from OB-NL participants, plasma and SAAT–derived exosomes from the OB-NAFLD group decreased insulin signaling in myotubes and hepatocytes. Conclusions: Systemic insulin resistance in people with obesity and NAFLD is associated with increased plasma PAI-1 concentrations and both plasma and SAAT-derived exosomes. ClinicalTrials.gov number: NCT02706262 (https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT02706262).
- Insulin Resistance
- T Cells