Increased plasma fatty acid clearance, not fatty acid concentration, is associated with muscle insulin resistance in people with obesity

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Although it is well-accepted that increased plasma free fatty acid (FFA) concentration causes lipid overload and muscle insulin resistance in people with obesity, plasma FFA concentration poorly predicts insulin-resistant glucose metabolism. It has been proposed that hyperinsulinemia in people with obesity sufficiently inhibits adipose tissue triglyceride lipolysis to prevent FFA-induced insulin resistance. However, we hypothesized enhanced FFA clearance in people with obesity, compared with lean people, prevents a marked increase in plasma FFA even when FFA appearance is high. Methods: We assessed FFA kinetics during basal conditions and during a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp procedure in 14 lean people and 46 people with obesity by using [13C]palmitate tracer infusion. Insulin-stimulated muscle glucose uptake rate was evaluated by dynamic PET-imaging of skeletal muscles after [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose injection. Results: Plasma FFA clearance was accelerated in participants with obesity and correlated negatively with muscle insulin sensitivity without a difference between lean and obese participants. Furthermore, insulin infusion increased FFA clearance and the increase was greater in obese than lean participants. Conclusions: Our findings suggest plasma FFA extraction efficiency, not just plasma FFA concentration, is an important determinant of the cellular fatty acid load and the stimulatory effect of insulin on FFA clearance counteracts some of its antilipolytic effect.

Original languageEnglish
Article number155216
JournalMetabolism: clinical and experimental
Volume132
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2022

Keywords

  • Adipose tissue
  • Fatty acids
  • Insulin resistance
  • Obesity

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