Search tips
Search criteria

Results 1-25 (1118025)

Clipboard (0)

Related Articles

1.  Muscle Mitochondrial ATP Synthesis and Glucose Transport/Phosphorylation in Type 2 Diabetes 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(5):e154.
Muscular insulin resistance is frequently characterized by blunted increases in glucose-6-phosphate (G-6-P) reflecting impaired glucose transport/phosphorylation. These abnormalities likely relate to excessive intramyocellular lipids and mitochondrial dysfunction. We hypothesized that alterations in insulin action and mitochondrial function should be present even in nonobese patients with well-controlled type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).
Methods and Findings
We measured G-6-P, ATP synthetic flux (i.e., synthesis) and lipid contents of skeletal muscle with 31P/1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy in ten patients with T2DM and in two control groups: ten sex-, age-, and body mass-matched elderly people; and 11 younger healthy individuals. Although insulin sensitivity was lower in patients with T2DM, muscle lipid contents were comparable and hyperinsulinemia increased G-6-P by 50% (95% confidence interval [CI] 39%–99%) in all groups. Patients with diabetes had 27% lower fasting ATP synthetic flux compared to younger controls (p = 0.031). Insulin stimulation increased ATP synthetic flux only in controls (younger: 26%, 95% CI 13%–42%; older: 11%, 95% CI 2%–25%), but failed to increase even during hyperglycemic hyperinsulinemia in patients with T2DM. Fasting free fatty acids and waist-to-hip ratios explained 44% of basal ATP synthetic flux. Insulin sensitivity explained 30% of insulin-stimulated ATP synthetic flux.
Patients with well-controlled T2DM feature slightly lower flux through muscle ATP synthesis, which occurs independently of glucose transport /phosphorylation and lipid deposition but is determined by lipid availability and insulin sensitivity. Furthermore, the reduction in insulin-stimulated glucose disposal despite normal glucose transport/phosphorylation suggests further abnormalities mainly in glycogen synthesis in these patients.
Michael Roden and colleagues report that even patients with well-controlled insulin-resistant type 2 diabetes have altered mitochondrial function.
Editors' Summary
Diabetes mellitus is an increasingly common chronic disease characterized by high blood sugar (glucose) levels. In normal individuals, blood sugar levels are maintained by the hormone insulin. Insulin is released by the pancreas when blood glucose levels rise after eating (glucose is produced by the digestion of food) and “instructs” insulin-responsive muscle and fat cells to take up glucose from the bloodstream. The cells then use glucose as a fuel or convert it into glycogen, a storage form of glucose. In type 2 diabetes, the commonest type of diabetes, the muscle and fat cells become nonresponsive to insulin (a condition called insulin resistance) and consequently blood glucose levels rise. Over time, this hyperglycemia increases the risk of heart attacks, kidney failure, and other life-threatening complications.
Why Was This Study Done?
Insulin resistance is often an early sign of type 2 diabetes, sometimes predating its development by many years, so understanding its causes might provide clues about how to stop the global diabetes epidemic. One theory is that mitochondria—cellular structures that produce the energy (in the form of a molecule called ATP) needed to keep cells functioning—do not work properly in people with insulin resistance. Mitochondria change (metabolize) fatty acids into energy, and recent studies have revealed that fat accumulation caused by poorly regulated fatty acid metabolism blocks insulin signaling, thus causing insulin resistance. Other studies using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to study mitochondrial function noninvasively in human muscle indicate that mitochondria are dysfunctional in people with insulin resistance by showing that ATP synthesis is impaired in such individuals. In this study, the researchers have examined both baseline and insulin-stimulated mitochondrial function in nonobese patients with well-controlled type 2 diabetes and in normal controls to discover more about the relationship between mitochondrial dysfunction and insulin resistance.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers determined the insulin sensitivity of people with type 2 diabetes and two sets of people (the “controls”) who did not have diabetes: one in which the volunteers were age-matched to the people with diabetes, and the other containing younger individuals (insulin resistance increases with age). To study insulin sensitivity in all three groups, the researchers used a “hyperinsulinemic–euglycemic clamp.” For this, after an overnight fast, the participants' insulin levels were kept high with a continuous insulin infusion while blood glucose levels were kept normal using a variable glucose infusion. In this situation, the glucose infusion rate equals glucose uptake by the body and therefore measures tissue sensitivity to insulin. Before and during the clamp, the researchers used MRS to measure glucose-6-phosphate (an indicator of how effectively glucose is taken into cells and phosphorylated), ATP synthesis, and the fat content of the participants' muscle cells. Insulin sensitivity was lower in the patients with diabetes than in the controls, but muscle lipid content was comparable and hyperinsulinemia increased glucose-6-phosphate levels similarly in all the groups. Patients with diabetes and the older controls had lower fasting ATP synthesis rates than the young controls and, whereas insulin stimulation increased ATP synthesis in all the controls, it had no effect in the patients with diabetes. In addition, fasting blood fatty acid levels were inversely related to basal ATP synthesis, whereas insulin sensitivity was directly related to insulin-stimulated ATP synthesis.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that the impairment of muscle mitochondrial ATP synthesis in fasting conditions and after insulin stimulation in people with diabetes is not due to impaired glucose transport/phosphorylation or fat deposition in the muscles. Instead, it seems to be determined by lipid availability and insulin sensitivity. These results add to the evidence suggesting that mitochondrial function is disrupted in type 2 diabetes and in insulin resistance, but also suggest that there may be abnormalities in glycogen synthesis. More work is needed to determine the exact nature of these abnormalities and to discover whether they can be modulated to prevent the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. For now, though, these findings re-emphasize the need for people with type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance to reduce their food intake to compensate for the reduced energy needs of their muscles and to exercise to increase the ATP-generating capacity of their muscles. Both lifestyle changes could improve their overall health and life expectancy.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia has pages on diabetes
The US National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases provides information for patients on diabetes and insulin resistance
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information on diabetes for patients and professionals
American Diabetes Association provides information for patients on diabetes and insulin resistance
Diabetes UK has information for patients and professionals on diabetes
PMCID: PMC1858707  PMID: 17472434
2.  Mesenchymal stem cell transplantation for the infarcted heart: therapeutic potential for insulin resistance beyond the heart 
This study aimed to evaluate the efficacy of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) transplantation to mitigate abnormalities in cardiac-specific and systemic metabolism mediated by a combination of a myocardial infarction and diet-induced insulin resistance.
C57BL/6 mice were high-fat fed for eight weeks prior to induction of a myocardial infarction via chronic ligation of the left anterior descending coronary artery. MSCs were administered directly after myocardial infarction induction through a single intramyocardial injection. Echocardiography was performed prior to the myocardial infarction as well as seven and 28 days post-myocardial infarction. Hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamps coupled with 2-[14C]deoxyglucose were employed 36 days post-myocardial infarction (13 weeks of high-fat feeding) to assess systemic insulin sensitivity and insulin-mediated, tissue-specific glucose uptake in the conscious, unrestrained mouse. High-resolution respirometry was utilized to evaluate cardiac mitochondrial function in saponin-permeabilized cardiac fibers.
MSC administration minimized the decline in ejection fraction following the myocardial infarction. The greater systolic function in MSC-treated mice was associated with increased in vivo cardiac glucose uptake and enhanced mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation efficiency. MSC therapy promoted reductions in fasting arterial glucose and fatty acid concentrations. Additionally, glucose uptake in peripheral tissues including skeletal muscle and adipose tissue was elevated in MSC-treated mice. Enhanced glucose uptake in these tissues was associated with improved insulin signalling as assessed by Akt phosphorylation and prevention of a decline in GLUT4 often associated with high-fat feeding.
These studies provide insight into the utility of MSC transplantation as a metabolic therapy that extends beyond the heart exerting beneficial systemic effects on insulin action.
PMCID: PMC3847505  PMID: 24007410
Diabetes; Glucose uptake; Isotopic tracer; Mitochondria; Myocardial infarction
3.  Butyrate Improves Insulin Sensitivity and Increases Energy Expenditure in Mice 
Diabetes  2009;58(7):1509-1517.
We examined the role of butyric acid, a short-chain fatty acid formed by fermentation in the large intestine, in the regulation of insulin sensitivity in mice fed a high-fat diet.
In dietary-obese C57BL/6J mice, sodium butyrate was administrated through diet supplementation at 5% wt/wt in the high-fat diet. Insulin sensitivity was examined with insulin tolerance testing and homeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance. Energy metabolism was monitored in a metabolic chamber. Mitochondrial function was investigated in brown adipocytes and skeletal muscle in the mice.
On the high-fat diet, supplementation of butyrate prevented development of insulin resistance and obesity in C57BL/6 mice. Fasting blood glucose, fasting insulin, and insulin tolerance were all preserved in the treated mice. Body fat content was maintained at 10% without a reduction in food intake. Adaptive thermogenesis and fatty acid oxidation were enhanced. An increase in mitochondrial function and biogenesis was observed in skeletal muscle and brown fat. The type I fiber was enriched in skeletal muscle. Peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor-γ coactivator-1α expression was elevated at mRNA and protein levels. AMP kinase and p38 activities were elevated. In the obese mice, supplementation of butyrate led to an increase in insulin sensitivity and a reduction in adiposity.
Dietary supplementation of butyrate can prevent and treat diet-induced insulin resistance in mouse. The mechanism of butyrate action is related to promotion of energy expenditure and induction of mitochondria function.
PMCID: PMC2699871  PMID: 19366864
4.  Opening of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore links mitochondrial dysfunction to insulin resistance in skeletal muscle☆ 
Molecular Metabolism  2013;3(2):124-134.
Insulin resistance is associated with mitochondrial dysfunction, but the mechanism by which mitochondria inhibit insulin-stimulated glucose uptake into the cytoplasm is unclear. The mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP) is a protein complex that facilitates the exchange of molecules between the mitochondrial matrix and cytoplasm, and opening of the mPTP occurs in response to physiological stressors that are associated with insulin resistance. In this study, we investigated whether mPTP opening provides a link between mitochondrial dysfunction and insulin resistance by inhibiting the mPTP gatekeeper protein cyclophilin D (CypD) in vivo and in vitro. Mice lacking CypD were protected from high fat diet-induced glucose intolerance due to increased glucose uptake in skeletal muscle. The mitochondria in CypD knockout muscle were resistant to diet-induced swelling and had improved calcium retention capacity compared to controls; however, no changes were observed in muscle oxidative damage, insulin signaling, lipotoxic lipid accumulation or mitochondrial bioenergetics. In vitro, we tested 4 models of insulin resistance that are linked to mitochondrial dysfunction in cultured skeletal muscle cells including antimycin A, C2-ceramide, ferutinin, and palmitate. In all models, we observed that pharmacological inhibition of mPTP opening with the CypD inhibitor cyclosporin A was sufficient to prevent insulin resistance at the level of insulin-stimulated GLUT4 translocation to the plasma membrane. The protective effects of mPTP inhibition on insulin sensitivity were associated with improved mitochondrial calcium retention capacity but did not involve changes in insulin signaling both in vitro and in vivo. In sum, these data place the mPTP at a critical intersection between alterations in mitochondrial function and insulin resistance in skeletal muscle.
PMCID: PMC3953683  PMID: 24634818
MPTP, mitochondrial permeability transition pore; CYPD, cyclophilin D; HFD, high fat diet; LFD, low fat diet; WT, wild type; KO, knockout; CSA, cyclosporin A; BKA, bongkrekic acid; O2•, superoxide; [3H]-2-DOG, [3H]-2-deoxyglucose; Rg′, rate of glucose transport; FFA, free fatty acid; DAG, diacylglycerol; TEM, transmission electron microscopy; PDH, pyruvate dehydrogenase; PDHa, active PDH; PDHt, total PDH; MCAD, medium chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase; β-HAD, β-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase; PM, plasma membrane; ANT, adenine nucleotide translocator; VDAC, voltage-dependent anion channel; HK2, hexokinase 2; ETC, electron transport chain; OXPHOS, oxidative phosphorylation; MnSOD, mitochondrial manganese superoxide dismutase; MIRKO, muscle insulin receptor knockout; MHC, myosin heavy chain; TBARS, thiobarbituric acid reactive substances; Glucose; Insulin resistance; Mitochondrial dysfunction; Mitochondrial permeability transition pore; Cyclophilin D; Skeletal muscle
5.  High Fat Diet-Induced Changes in Mouse Muscle Mitochondrial Phospholipids Do Not Impair Mitochondrial Respiration Despite Insulin Resistance 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(11):e27274.
Type 2 diabetes mellitus and muscle insulin resistance have been associated with reduced capacity of skeletal muscle mitochondria, possibly as a result of increased intake of dietary fat. Here, we examined the hypothesis that a prolonged high-fat diet consumption (HFD) increases the saturation of muscle mitochondrial membrane phospholipids causing impaired mitochondrial oxidative capacity and possibly insulin resistance.
C57BL/6J mice were fed an 8-week or 20-week low fat diet (10 kcal%; LFD) or HFD (45 kcal%). Skeletal muscle mitochondria were isolated and fatty acid (FA) composition of skeletal muscle mitochondrial phospholipids was analyzed by thin-layer chromatography followed by GC. High-resolution respirometry was used to assess oxidation of pyruvate and fatty acids by mitochondria. Insulin sensitivity was estimated by HOMA-IR.
Principal Findings
At 8 weeks, mono-unsaturated FA (16∶1n7, 18∶1n7 and 18∶1n9) were decreased (−4.0%, p<0.001), whereas saturated FA (16∶0) were increased (+3.2%, p<0.001) in phospholipids of HFD vs. LFD mitochondria. Interestingly, 20 weeks of HFD descreased mono-unsaturated FA while n-6 poly-unsaturated FA (18∶2n6, 20∶4n6, 22∶5n6) showed a pronounced increase (+4.0%, p<0.001). Despite increased saturation of muscle mitochondrial phospholipids after the 8-week HFD, mitochondrial oxidation of both pyruvate and fatty acids were similar between LFD and HFD mice. After 20 weeks of HFD, the increase in n-6 poly-unsaturated FA was accompanied by enhanced maximal capacity of the electron transport chain (+49%, p = 0.002) and a tendency for increased ADP-stimulated respiration, but only when fuelled by a lipid-derived substrate. Insulin sensitivity in HFD mice was reduced at both 8 and 20 weeks.
Our findings do not support the concept that prolonged HF feeding leads to increased saturation of skeletal muscle mitochondrial phospholipids resulting in a decrease in mitochondrial fat oxidative capacity and (muscle) insulin resistance.
PMCID: PMC3225362  PMID: 22140436
6.  A Combination of Nutriments Improves Mitochondrial Biogenesis and Function in Skeletal Muscle of Type 2 Diabetic Goto–Kakizaki Rats 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(6):e2328.
Recent evidence indicates that insulin resistance in skeletal muscle may be related to reduce mitochondrial number and oxidation capacity. However, it is not known whether increasing mitochondrial number and function improves insulin resistance. In the present study, we investigated the effects of a combination of nutrients on insulin resistance and mitochondrial biogenesis/function in skeletal muscle of type 2 diabetic Goto–Kakizaki rats.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We demonstrated that defect of glucose and lipid metabolism is associated with low mitochondrial content and reduced mitochondrial enzyme activity in skeletal muscle of the diabetic Goto-Kakizaki rats. The treatment of combination of R-α-lipoic acid, acetyl-L-carnitine, nicotinamide, and biotin effectively improved glucose tolerance, decreased the basal insulin secretion and the level of circulating free fatty acid (FFA), and prevented the reduction of mitochondrial biogenesis in skeletal muscle. The nutrients treatment also significantly increased mRNA levels of genes involved in lipid metabolism, including peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor-α (Pparα), peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor-δ (Pparδ), and carnitine palmitoyl transferase-1 (Mcpt-1) and activity of mitochondrial complex I and II in skeletal muscle. All of these effects of mitochondrial nutrients are comparable to that of the antidiabetic drug, pioglitazone. In addition, the treatment with nutrients, unlike pioglitazone, did not cause body weight gain.
These data suggest that a combination of mitochondrial targeting nutrients may improve skeletal mitochondrial dysfunction and exert hypoglycemic effects, without causing weight gain.
PMCID: PMC2391295  PMID: 18523557
7.  Patients with type 2 diabetes have normal mitochondrial function in skeletal muscle 
Diabetologia  2007;50(4):790-796.
Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes are associated with mitochondrial dysfunction. The aim of the present study was to test the hypothesis that oxidative phosphorylation and electron transport capacity are diminished in the skeletal muscle of type 2 diabetic subjects, as a result of a reduction in the mitochondrial content.
Materials and methods
The O2 flux capacity of permeabilised muscle fibres from biopsies of the quadriceps in healthy subjects (n = 8; age 58 ± 2 years [mean±SEM]; BMI 28 ± 1 kg/m2; fasting plasma glucose 5.4 ± 0.2 mmol/l) and patients with type 2 diabetes (n = 11; age 62 ± 2 years; BMI 32 ± 2 kg/m2; fasting plasma glucose 9.0 ± 0.8 mmol/l) was measured by high-resolution respirometry.
O2 flux expressed per mg of muscle (fresh weight) during ADP-stimulated state 3 respiration was lower (p < 0.05) in patients with type 2 diabetes in the presence of complex I substrate (glutamate) (31 ± 2 vs 43 ± 3 pmol O2 s−1 mg−1) and in response to glutamate + succinate (parallel electron input from complexes I and II) (63 ± 3 vs 85 ± 6 pmol s−1 mg−1). Further increases in O2 flux capacity were observed in response to uncoupling by FCCP, but were again lower (p < 0.05) in type 2 diabetic patients than in healthy control subjects (86 ± 4 vs 109 ± 8 pmol s−1 mg−1). However, when O2 flux was normalised for mitochondrial DNA content or citrate synthase activity, there were no differences in oxidative phosphorylation or electron transport capacity between patients with type 2 diabetes and healthy control subjects.
Mitochondrial function is normal in type 2 diabetes. Blunting of coupled and uncoupled respiration in type 2 diabetic patients can be attributed to lower mitochondrial content.
PMCID: PMC1820754  PMID: 17334651
Diabetes; Mitochondria; Skeletal muscle
8.  Role of the glucosamine pathway in fat-induced insulin resistance. 
To examine whether the hexosamine biosynthetic pathway might play a role in fat-induced insulin resistance, we monitored the effects of prolonged elevations in FFA availability both on skeletal muscle levels of UDP-N-acetyl-hexosamines and on peripheral glucose disposal during 7-h euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic (approximately 500 microU/ml) clamp studies. When the insulin-induced decrease in the plasma FFA levels (to approximately 0.3 mM) was prevented by infusion of a lipid emulsion in 15 conscious rats (plasma FFA approximately 1.4 mM), glucose uptake (5-7 h = 32.5+/-1.7 vs 0-2 h = 45.2+/-2.8 mg/kg per min; P < 0.01) and glycogen synthesis (P < 0.01) were markedly decreased. During lipid infusion, muscle UDP-N-acetyl-glucosamine (UDP-GlcNAc) increased by twofold (to 53.4+/-1.1 at 3 h and to 55.5+/-1.1 nmol/gram at 7 h vs 20.4+/-1.7 at 0 h, P < 0.01) while glucose-6-phosphate (Glc-6-P) levels were increased at 3 h (475+/-49 nmol/gram) and decreased at 7 h (133+/-7 vs 337+/-28 nmol/gram at 0 h, P < 0.01). To discern whether such an increase in the skeletal muscle UDP-GlcNAc concentration could account for the development of insulin resistance, we generated similar increases in muscle UDP-GlcNAc using three alternate experimental approaches. Euglycemic clamps were performed after prolonged hyperglycemia (18 mM, n = 10), or increased availability of either glucosamine (3 micromol/kg per min; n = 10) or uridine (30 micromol/kg per min; n = 4). These conditions all resulted in very similar increases in the skeletal muscle UDP-GlcNAc (to approximately 55 nmol/gram) and markedly impaired glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis. Thus, fat-induced insulin resistance is associated with: (a) decreased skeletal muscle Glc-6-P levels indicating defective transport/phosphorylation of glucose; (b) marked accumulation of the endproducts of the hexosamine biosynthetic pathway preceding the onset of insulin resistance. Most important, the same degree of insulin resistance can be reproduced in the absence of increased FFA availability by a similar increase in skeletal muscle UDP-N-acetyl-hexosamines. In conclusion, our results support the hypothesis that increased FFA availability induces skeletal muscle insulin resistance by increasing the flux of fructose-6-phosphate into the hexosamine pathway.
PMCID: PMC508047  PMID: 9151789
9.  Mitochondrial Fission Contributes to Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Insulin Resistance in Skeletal Muscle 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2012;32(2):309-319.
Mitochondrial dysfunction in skeletal muscle has been implicated in the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Considering the importance of mitochondrial dynamics in mitochondrial and cellular functions, we hypothesized that obesity and excess energy intake shift the balance of mitochondrial dynamics, further contributing to mitochondrial dysfunction and metabolic deterioration in skeletal muscle. First, we revealed that excess palmitate (PA), but not hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia, or elevated tumor necrosis factor alpha, induced mitochondrial fragmentation and increased mitochondrion-associated Drp1 and Fis1 in differentiated C2C12 muscle cells. This fragmentation was associated with increased oxidative stress, mitochondrial depolarization, loss of ATP production, and reduced insulin-stimulated glucose uptake. Both genetic and pharmacological inhibition of Drp1 attenuated PA-induced mitochondrial fragmentation, mitochondrial depolarization, and insulin resistance in C2C12 cells. Furthermore, we found smaller and shorter mitochondria and increased mitochondrial fission machinery in the skeletal muscle of mice with genetic obesity and those with diet-induced obesity. Inhibition of mitochondrial fission improved the muscle insulin signaling and systemic insulin sensitivity of obese mice. Our findings indicated that aberrant mitochondrial fission is causally associated with mitochondrial dysfunction and insulin resistance in skeletal muscle. Thus, disruption of mitochondrial dynamics may underlie the pathogenesis of muscle insulin resistance in obesity and type 2 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3255771  PMID: 22083962
10.  Skeletal muscle utilization of free fatty acids in women with visceral obesity. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1995;95(4):1846-1853.
Visceral obesity is strongly associated with insulin resistance. One potential cause is increased availability of FFA. Alternatively, it has been proposed that there is impaired oxidation of lipid in individuals at risk for obesity. The extent to which either concept involves skeletal muscle is uncertain. To examine these opposing hypotheses, 17 healthy lean and obese premenopausal women, among whom cross-sectional area of visceral fat ranged from 18 to 180 cm2, participated in leg balance studies for measurement of FFA and glucose utilization during basal and insulin-stimulated conditions. A metabolic profile of skeletal muscle, based on enzyme activity, was determined in vastus lateralis muscle obtained by percutaneous biopsy. Visceral fat content was negatively correlated with insulin sensitivity (rates of leg glucose uptake and storage), but insulin resistance was not caused by glucose-FFA competition. During hyperinsulinemia, neither leg FFA uptake nor oxidation was increased in women with visceral obesity. During fasting conditions, however, rates of FFA uptake across the leg were negatively correlated with visceral adiposity as were activities of muscle carnitine palmitoyl transferase and citrate synthase. In summary, visceral adiposity is clearly associated with skeletal muscle insulin resistance but this is not due to glucose-FFA substrate competition. Instead, women with visceral obesity have reduced postabsorptive FFA utilization by muscle.
PMCID: PMC295723  PMID: 7706491
11.  Insulin and GLP-1 infusions demonstrate the onset of adipose-specific insulin resistance in a large fasting mammal: potential glucogenic role for GLP-1 
Physiological Reports  2013;1(2):e00023.
Prolonged food deprivation increases lipid oxidation and utilization, which may contribute to the onset of the insulin resistance associated with fasting. Because insulin resistance promotes the preservation of glucose and oxidation of fat, it has been suggested to be an adaptive response to food deprivation. However, fasting mammals exhibit hypoinsulinemia, suggesting that the insulin resistance-like conditions they experience may actually result from reduced pancreatic sensitivity to glucose/capacity to secrete insulin. To determine whether fasting results in insulin resistance or in pancreatic dysfunction, we infused early- and late-fasted seals (naturally adapted to prolonged fasting) with insulin (0.065 U/kg), and a separate group of late-fasted seals with low (10 pmol/L per kg) or high (100 pmol/L per kg) dosages of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) immediately following a glucose bolus (0.5 g/kg), and measured the systemic and cellular responses. Because GLP-1 facilitates glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, these infusions provide a method to assess pancreatic insulin-secreting capacity. Insulin infusions increased the phosphorylation of insulin receptor and Akt in adipose and muscle of early- and late-fasted seals; however, the timing of the signaling response was blunted in adipose of late-fasted seals. Despite the dose-dependent increases in insulin and increased glucose clearance (high dose), both GLP-1 dosages produced increases in plasma cortisol and glucagon, which may have contributed to the glucogenic role of GLP-1. Results suggest that fasting induces adipose-specific insulin resistance in elephant seal pups, while maintaining skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity, and therefore suggests that the onset of insulin resistance in fasting mammals is an evolved response to cope with prolonged food deprivation.
PMCID: PMC3755502  PMID: 23997935
Adipose tissue; elephant seal; fatty acids; GLP-1; glucose intolerance; insulin sensitivity
12.  Insulin and GLP-1 infusions demonstrate the onset of adipose-specific insulin resistance in a large fasting mammal: potential glucogenic role for GLP-1 
Physiological reports  2013;1(2):e00023.
Prolonged food deprivation increases lipid oxidation and utilization, which may contribute to the onset of the insulin resistance associated with fasting. Because insulin resistance promotes the preservation of glucose and oxidation of fat, it has been suggested to be an adaptive response to food deprivation. However, fasting mammals exhibit hypoinsulinemia, suggesting that the insulin resistance-like conditions they experience may actually result from reduced pancreatic sensitivity to glucose/capacity to secrete insulin. To determine whether fasting results in insulin resistance or in pancreatic dysfunction, we infused early- and late-fasted seals (naturally adapted to prolonged fasting) with insulin (0.065 U/kg), and a separate group of late-fasted seals with low (10 pM/kg) or high (100 pM/kg) dosages of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) immediately following a glucose bolus (0.5g/kg), and measured the systemic and cellular responses. Because GLP-1 facilitates glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, these infusions provide a method to assess pancreatic insulin-secreting capacity. Insulin infusions increased the phosphorylation of insulin receptor and Akt in adipose and muscle of early and late fasted seals; however the timing of the signaling response was blunted in adipose of late fasted seals. Despite the dose-dependent increases in insulin and increased glucose clearance (high dose), both GLP-1 dosages produced increases in plasma cortisol and glucagon, which may have contributed to the glucogenic role of GLP-1. Results suggest that fasting induces adipose-specific insulin resistance in elephant seal pups, while maintaining skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity, and therefore suggests that the onset of insulin resistance in fasting mammals is an evolved response to cope with prolonged food deprivation.
PMCID: PMC3755502  PMID: 23997935
insulin sensitivity; glucose intolerance; GLP-1; elephant seal; fatty acids; adipose tissue
13.  Differential regulation of PGC-1α expression in rat liver and skeletal muscle in response to voluntary running 
The beneficial actions of exercise training on lipid, glucose and energy metabolism and insulin sensitivity appear to be in part mediated by PGC-1α. Previous studies have shown that spontaneously exercised rats show at rest enhanced responsiveness to exogenous insulin, lower plasma insulin levels and increased skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity. This study was initiated to examine the functional interaction between exercise-induced modulation of skeletal muscle and liver PGC-1α protein expression, whole body insulin sensitivity, and circulating FFA levels as a measure of whole body fatty acid (lipid) metabolism.
Two groups of male Wistar rats (2 Mo of age, 188.82 ± 2.77 g BW) were used in this study. One group consisted of control rats placed in standard laboratory cages. Exercising rats were housed individually in cages equipped with running wheels and allowed to run at their own pace for 5 weeks. At the end of exercise training, insulin sensitivity was evaluated by comparing steady-state plasma glucose (SSPG) concentrations at constant plasma insulin levels attained during the continuous infusion of glucose and insulin to each experimental group. Subsequently, soleus and plantaris muscle and liver samples were collected and quantified for PGC-1α protein expression by Western blotting. Collected blood samples were analyzed for glucose, insulin and FFA concentrations.
Rats housed in the exercise wheel cages demonstrated almost linear increases in running activity with advancing time reaching to maximum value around 4 weeks. On an average, the rats ran a mean (Mean ± SE) of 4.102 ± 0.747 km/day and consumed significantly more food as compared to sedentary controls (P < 0.001) in order to meet their increased caloric requirement. Mean plasma insulin (P < 0.001) and FFA (P < 0.006) concentrations were lower in the exercise-trained rats as compared to sedentary controls. Mean steady state plasma insulin (SSPI) and glucose (SSPG) concentrations were not significantly different in sedentary control rats as compared to exercise-trained animals. Plantaris PGC-1α protein expression increased significantly from a 1.11 ± 0.12 in the sedentary rats to 1.74 ± 0.09 in exercising rats (P < 0.001). However, exercise had no effect on PGC-1α protein content in either soleus muscle or liver tissue. These results indicate that exercise training selectively up regulates the PGC-1α protein expression in high-oxidative fast skeletal muscle type such as plantaris muscle.
These data suggest that PGC-1α most likely plays a restricted role in exercise-mediated improvements in insulin resistance (sensitivity) and lowering of circulating FFA levels.
PMCID: PMC2874794  PMID: 20433743
14.  Salsalate Attenuates Free Fatty Acid–Induced Microvascular and Metabolic Insulin Resistance in Humans 
Diabetes Care  2011;34(7):1634-1638.
Insulin recruits muscle microvasculature, thereby increasing endothelial exchange surface area. Free fatty acids (FFAs) cause insulin resistance by activating inhibitor of κB kinase β. Elevating plasma FFAs impairs insulin’s microvascular and metabolic actions in vivo. Whether salsalate, an anti-inflammatory agent, prevents FFA-induced microvascular and/or metabolic insulin resistance in humans is unknown.
Eleven healthy, young adults were studied three times in random order. After an overnight fast, on two occasions each subject received a 5-h systemic infusion of Intralipid ± salsalate pretreatment (50 mg/kg/day for 4 days). On the third occasion, saline replaced Intralipid. A 1 mU/kg/min euglycemic insulin clamp was superimposed over the last 2-h of each study. Skeletal and cardiac muscle microvascular blood volume (MBV), microvascular flow velocity (MFV), and microvascular blood flow (MBF) were determined before and after insulin infusion. Whole body glucose disposal rates were calculated from glucose infusion rates.
Insulin significantly increased skeletal and cardiac muscle MBV and MBF without affecting MFV. Lipid infusion abolished insulin-mediated microvascular recruitment in both skeletal and cardiac muscle and lowered insulin-stimulated whole body glucose disposal (P < 0.001). Salsalate treatment rescued insulin’s actions to recruit muscle microvasculature and improved insulin-stimulated whole body glucose disposal in the presence of high plasma FFAs.
High plasma concentrations of FFAs cause both microvascular and metabolic insulin resistance, which can be prevented or attenuated by salsalate treatment. Our data suggest that treatments aimed at inhibition of inflammatory response might help alleviate vascular insulin resistance and improve metabolic control in patients with diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3120177  PMID: 21617098
15.  Independent Associations of Fasting Insulin, Glucose, and Glycated Haemoglobin with Stroke and Coronary Heart Disease in Older Women 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(8):e263.
Evidence suggests that variations in fasting glucose and insulin amongst those without frank type 2 diabetes mellitus are important determinants of cardiovascular disease. However, the relative importance of variations in fasting insulin, glucose, and glycated haemoglobin as risk factors for cardiovascular disease in women without diabetes is unclear. Our aim was to determine the independent associations of fasting insulin, glucose, and glycated haemoglobin with coronary heart disease and stroke in older women.
Methods and Findings
We undertook a prospective cohort study of 3,246 British women aged 60–79 y, all of whom were free of baseline coronary heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, and all of whom had fasting glucose levels below 7 mmol/l. Fasting insulin and homeostasis model assessment for insulin sensitivity (HOMA-S) were linearly associated with a combined outcome of coronary heart disease or stroke (n = 219 events), but there was no association of fasting glucose or glycated haemoglobin with these outcomes. Results were similar for coronary heart disease and stroke as separate outcomes. The age, life-course socioeconomic position, smoking, and physical activity adjusted hazard ratio for a combined outcome of incident coronary heart disease or stroke per one standard deviation of fasting insulin was 1.14 (95% CI 1.02–1.33). Additional adjustment for other components of metabolic syndrome, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, fasting glucose, and glycated haemoglobin had little effect on this result.
Our findings suggest that in women in the 60–79 y age range, insulin resistance, rather than insulin secretion or chronic hyperglycaemia, is a more important risk factor for coronary heart disease and stroke. Below currently used thresholds of fasting glucose for defining diabetes, neither fasting glucose nor glycated haemoglobin are associated with cardiovascular disease.
From a prospective study of women aged 60-79 years, Debbie Lawlor and colleagues conclude that insulin resistance is an important risk factor for coronary heart disease and stroke.
Editors' Summary
Narrowing of the vessels that take blood to the heart and brain is a common form of cardiovascular disease—i.e., a disorder of the heart and blood vessels. It is a major cause of illness and death. By starving the heart and brain of oxygen, this condition causes coronary heart disease (CHD; heart problems such as angina and heart attacks) and strokes. A major risk factor for CHD and strokes is diabetes, a common chronic disease characterized by high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. In people who don't have diabetes, the hormone insulin controls blood-sugar levels. Insulin, which is released by the pancreas after eating, “instructs” insulin-responsive muscle and fat cells to absorb the glucose (released from food) from the bloodstream. In the very early stages of type 2 diabetes (the commonest type of diabetes, also called “adult onset” or “noninsulin-dependent” diabetes”), muscle and fat cells become unresponsive to insulin, so blood-sugar levels increase. This is called “insulin resistance.” The pancreas responds by making more insulin. As a result, people with insulin resistance have high blood levels of both insulin (hyperinsulinemia) and glucose (hyperglycemia). Eventually, the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas start to malfunction, insulin secretion decreases, and type 2 diabetes is the result.
Why Was This Study Done?
It is not yet clear whether it is insulin resistance or reduced insulin secretion that is responsible for the association between diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Physicians would like to know this information to help them to prevent CHD and strokes in their patients. There is evidence that variations in fasting glucose levels (blood glucose measured more than 8 h after eating), which provide an indication of how well pancreatic cells are producing insulin, and in fasting insulin levels, which provide an indication of insulin resistance, determine cardiovascular disease risk among people without type 2 diabetes, but the relative importance of these risk factors is unclear. In this study, the researchers have investigated whether markers of insulin resistance (fasting hyperinsulinemia) and of altered insulin secretion (fasting hyperglycemia, and increased glycated hemoglobin, which indicates how much sugar has been in the blood over the past few months) are associated with CHD and strokes in elderly women without diabetes. Their aim is to gain new insights into how diabetes affects cardiovascular disease risk.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers measured glucose, insulin, and glycated hemoglobulin in fasting blood samples taken from about 3,000 women aged 60–79 y when they enrolled in the British Women's Heart and Health Study. None of the women had CHD at enrollment, none had had a stroke, none had diagnosed diabetes, and all had a fasting blood glucose below 7 mmol/l (a higher reading indicates diabetes). After monitoring the women for nearly 5 y for CHD and strokes, the researchers looked for statistical associations between the occurrence of cardiovascular disease and markers of insulin resistance and reduced insulin secretion. They found that fasting insulin levels, but not fasting glucose or glycated hemoglobin levels, were associated with CHD and stroke, even after allowing for other factors that affect cardiovascular disease risk such as smoking and physical activity. In other words, raised fasting insulin levels increased the women's risk of developing cardiovascular disease.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These results indicate that in elderly women without diabetes, fasting insulin (a marker of insulin resistance) is a better predictor of future cardiovascular disease risk than fasting glucose or glycated hemoglobin (markers of reduced insulin secretion). This suggests that insulin resistance might be the main mechanism linking type 2 diabetes to CHD and stroke in elderly women. (Elderly women are known to run a high risk of developing these conditions, but they have been relatively neglected in previous studies of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease.) However, because relatively few women developed CHD during the study and even fewer had a stroke, this conclusion needs confirming in larger studies, preferably ones that include more rigorous tests of insulin resistance and secretion and also include women from more ethnic backgrounds than this study did. If the association between fasting insulin levels and cardiovascular disease risk is confirmed, therapeutic interventions or lifestyle interventions (for example, increased physical activity or weight loss) that prevent or reverse insulin resistance might reduce cardiovascular disease risk better than interventions that prevent chronic hyperglycemia.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
MedlinePlus encyclopedia page on coronary heart disease, stroke, and diabetes (in English and Spanish)
Information for patients and caregivers from the US National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse on diabetes, including information on insulin resistance and on diabetes, heart disease, and stroke
Information on the British Women's Heart and Health Study
PMCID: PMC1952205  PMID: 17760500
16.  Control of Muscle Mitochondria by Insulin Entails Activation of Akt2-mtNOS Pathway: Implications for the Metabolic Syndrome 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(3):e1749.
In the metabolic syndrome with hyperinsulinemia, mitochondrial inhibition facilitates muscle fat and glycogen accumulation and accelerates its progression. In the last decade, nitric oxide (NO) emerged as a typical mitochondrial modulator by reversibly inhibiting citochrome oxidase and oxygen utilization. We wondered whether insulin-operated signaling pathways modulate mitochondrial respiration via NO, to alternatively release complete glucose oxidation to CO2 and H2O or to drive glucose storage to glycogen.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We illustrate here that NO produced by translocated nNOS (mtNOS) is the insulin-signaling molecule that controls mitochondrial oxygen utilization. We evoke a hyperinsulinemic-normoglycemic non-invasive clamp by subcutaneously injecting adult male rats with long-lasting human insulin glargine that remains stable in plasma by several hours. At a precise concentration, insulin increased phospho-Akt2 that translocates to mitochondria and determines in situ phosphorylation and substantial cooperative mtNOS activation (+4–8 fold, P<.05), high NO, and a lowering of mitochondrial oxygen uptake and resting metabolic rate (−25 to −60%, P<.05). Comparing in vivo insulin metabolic effects on gastrocnemius muscles by direct electroporation of siRNA nNOS or empty vector in the two legs of the same animal, confirmed that in the silenced muscles disrupted mtNOS allows higher oxygen uptake and complete (U-14C)-glucose utilization respect to normal mtNOS in the vector-treated ones (respectively 37±3 vs 10±1 µmolO2/h.g tissue and 13±1 vs 7.2±1 µmol 3H2O/h.g tissue, P<.05), which reciprocally restricted glycogen-synthesis by a half.
These evidences show that after energy replenishment, insulin depresses mitochondrial respiration in skeletal muscle via NO which permits substrates to be deposited as macromolecules; at discrete hyperinsulinemia, persistent mtNOS activation could contribute to mitochondrial dysfunction with insulin resistance and obesity and therefore, to the progression of the metabolic syndrome.
PMCID: PMC2258147  PMID: 18335029
17.  Role of Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Insulin Resistance 
Circulation research  2008;102(4):401-414.
Insulin resistance is characteristic of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and components of the cardiometabolic syndrome, including hypertension and dyslipidemia, that collectively contribute to a substantial risk for cardiovascular disease. Metabolic actions of insulin in classic insulin target tissues (eg, skeletal muscle, fat, and liver), as well as actions in nonclassic targets (eg, cardiovascular tissue), help to explain why insulin resistance and metabolic dysregulation are central in the pathogenesis of the cardiometabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. Glucose and lipid metabolism are largely dependent on mitochondria to generate energy in cells. Thereby, when nutrient oxidation is inefficient, the ratio of ATP production/oxygen consumption is low, leading to an increased production of superoxide anions. Reactive oxygen species formation may have maladaptive consequences that increase the rate of mutagenesis and stimulate proinflammatory processes. In addition to reactive oxygen species formation, genetic factors, aging, and reduced mitochondrial biogenesis all contribute to mitochondrial dysfunction. These factors also contribute to insulin resistance in classic and nonclassic insulin target tissues. Insulin resistance emanating from mitochondrial dysfunction may contribute to metabolic and cardiovascular abnormalities and subsequent increases in cardiovascular disease. Furthermore, interventions that improve mitochondrial function also improve insulin resistance. Collectively, these observations suggest that mitochondrial dysfunction may be a central cause of insulin resistance and associated complications. In this review, we discuss mechanisms of mitochondrial dysfunction related to the pathophysiology of insulin resistance in classic insulin-responsive tissue, as well as cardiovascular tissue.
PMCID: PMC2963150  PMID: 18309108
mitochondrial dysfunction; insulin resistance; cardiovascular disease
18.  In vivo effects of dietary quercetin and quercetin-rich red onion extract on skeletal muscle mitochondria, metabolism, and insulin sensitivity 
Genes & Nutrition  2014;10(1):2.
Red onions and low doses of the flavonoid, quercetin, increase insulin sensitivity and improve glucose tolerance. We hypothesized that dietary supplementation with red onion extract (RO) would attenuate high fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity and insulin resistance similar to quercetin supplementation by increasing energy expenditure through a mechanism involving skeletal muscle mitochondrial adaptations. To test this hypothesis, C57BL/6J mice were randomized into four groups and fed either a low fat diet (LF), HFD (HF), HFD + quercetin (HF + Q), or HFD + RO (HF + RO) for 9 weeks. Food consumption and body weight and composition were measured weekly. Insulin sensitivity was assessed by insulin and glucose tolerance tests. Energy expenditure and physical activity were measured by indirect calorimetry. Skeletal muscle incomplete beta oxidation, mitochondrial number, and mtDNA-encoded gene expression were measured. Quercetin and RO supplementation decreased HFD-induced fat mass accumulation and insulin resistance (measured by insulin tolerance test) and increased energy expenditure; however, only HF + Q showed an increase in physical activity levels. Although quercetin and RO similarly increased skeletal muscle mitochondrial number and decreased incomplete beta oxidation, establishing mitochondrial function similar to that seen in LF, only HF + Q exhibited consistently lower mRNA levels of mtDNA-encoded genes necessary for complexes IV and V compared to LF. Quercetin- and RO-induced improvements in adiposity, insulin resistance, and energy expenditure occur through differential mechanisms, with quercetin—but not RO-induced energy expenditure being related to increases in physical activity. While both treatments improved skeletal muscle mitochondrial number and function, mtDNA-encoded transcript levels suggest that the antiobesogenic, insulin-sensitizing effects of purified quercetin aglycone, and RO may occur through differential mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC4277553  PMID: 25542303
Quercetin; Insulin resistance; Obesity; Mitochondrial number; Skeletal muscle; Energy expenditure
19.  Defects in TLR3 expression and RNase L activation lead to decreased MnSOD expression and insulin resistance in muscle cells of obese people 
Cell Death & Disease  2014;5(3):e1136-.
Obesity is associated with chronic low-grade inflammation and oxidative stress that blunt insulin response in its target tissues, leading to insulin resistance (IR). IR is a characteristic feature of type 2 diabetes. Skeletal muscle is responsible for 75% of total insulin-dependent glucose uptake; consequently, skeletal muscle IR is considered to be the primary defect of systemic IR development. Interestingly, some obese people stay insulin-sensitive and metabolically healthy. With the aim of understanding this difference and identifying the mechanisms responsible for insulin sensitivity maintenance/IR development during obesity, we explored the role of the latent endoribonuclease (RNase L) in skeletal muscle cells. RNase L is a regulator of innate immunity, of double-stranded RNA sensors and of toll-like receptor (TLR) 4 signaling. It is regulated during inflammation by interferons and its activity is dependent on its binding to 2-5A, an oligoadenylate synthesized by oligoadenylate synthetases (OAS). Increased expression of RNase L or downregulation of its inhibitor (RLI) improved insulin response in mouse myogenic C2C12 cells and in primary human myotubes from normal-weight subjects treated with palmitate, a saturated free fatty acid (FFA) known to induce inflammation and oxidative stress via TLR4 activation. While RNase L and RLI levels remained unchanged, OAS level was decreased in primary myotubes from insulin-resistant obese subjects (OB-IR) compared with myotubes from insulin-sensitive obese subjects (OB-IS). TLR3 and mitochondrial manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) were also underexpressed in OB-IR myotubes. Activation of RNase L by 2-5A transfection allowed to restore insulin response, OAS, MnSOD and TLR3 expression in OB-IR myotubes. Due to low expression of OAS, OB-IR myotubes present a defect in RNase L activation and TLR3 regulation. Consequently, MnSOD level is low and insulin sensitivity is reduced. These results support that RNase L activity limits FFA/obesity-induced impairment of insulin response in muscle cells via TLR3 and MnSOD expression.
PMCID: PMC3973244  PMID: 24651439
obesity; insulin response; latent endoribonuclease; inflammation; manganese superoxide dismutase; toll-like receptor 3
20.  Mitochondrial dysfunction in patients with primary congenital insulin resistance 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2011;121(6):2457-2461.
Mitochondrial dysfunction is associated with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. It has thus been suggested that primary and/or genetic abnormalities in mitochondrial function may lead to accumulation of toxic lipid species in muscle and elsewhere, impairing insulin action on glucose metabolism. Alternatively, however, defects in insulin signaling may be primary events that result in mitochondrial dysfunction, or there may be a bidirectional relationship between these phenomena. To investigate this, we examined mitochondrial function in patients with genetic defects in insulin receptor (INSR) signaling. We found that phosphocreatine recovery after exercise, a measure of skeletal muscle mitochondrial function in vivo, was significantly slowed in patients with INSR mutations compared with that in healthy age-, fitness-, and BMI-matched controls. These findings suggest that defective insulin signaling may promote mitochondrial dysfunction. Furthermore, consistent with previous studies of mouse models of mitochondrial dysfunction, basal and sleeping metabolic rates were both significantly increased in genetically insulin-resistant patients, perhaps because mitochondrial dysfunction necessitates increased nutrient oxidation in order to maintain cellular energy levels.
PMCID: PMC3104774  PMID: 21555852
21.  Effects of nonesterified fatty acid availability on tissue-specific glucose utilization in rats in vivo. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1988;82(1):293-299.
The pathophysiological significance of the glucose-fatty acid cycle in skeletal muscle in vivo is uncertain. We have examined the short term effects of increased availability of nonesterified FFA on tissue-specific glucose uptake and storage in rat tissues in vivo basally and during a hyperinsulinemic (150 mU/liter) euglycemic clamp. Circulating FFA were elevated to 2 mmol/liter (FFA 1) or 4 mmol/liter (FFA 2). Elevated FFA produced a dose-dependent inhibition of myocardial glucose utilization in both basal (FFA1, 42%; FFA2, 68%; P less than 0.001, by analysis of variance) and clamp groups (FFA1, 39%; FFA2, 49%; P less than 0.001) and also suppressed brown adipose tissue glucose utilization during the clamp (-42%, P less than 0.001). In contrast to heart, glucose utilization in skeletal muscle was suppressed by FFA only in the FFA1 basal group (-36%, P less than 0.001); in other groups (e.g., FFA2 clamp) elevated FFA produced increased skeletal muscle glucose utilization (+68%, P less than 0.001) that was directed toward glycogen (+175%, P less than 0.05) and lipid deposition (+125%, P less than 0.005). FFA stimulated basal glucose utilization in white (e.g., FFA2, +220%, P less than 0.005) and brown adipose tissue (e.g., FFA2, +200%, P less than 0.005). Thus elevated FFA can acutely inhibit glucose utilization in skeletal muscle in addition to cardiac muscle in vivo supporting a possible role for the glucose-fatty acid cycle in skeletal muscle in acute insulin resistance. However, at high levels or with elevated insulin, FFA stimulates glucose utilization and storage in skeletal muscle. By promoting accumulation of glucose storage products, chronic elevation of FFA may lead to skeletal muscle (and therefore whole body) insulin resistance.
PMCID: PMC303508  PMID: 3292587
22.  Lower Intrinsic ADP-Stimulated Mitochondrial Respiration Underlies In Vivo Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Muscle of Male Type 2 Diabetic Patients 
Diabetes  2008;57(11):2943-2949.
OBJECTIVE—A lower in vivo mitochondrial function has been reported in both type 2 diabetic patients and first-degree relatives of type 2 diabetic patients. The nature of this reduction is unknown. Here, we tested the hypothesis that a lower intrinsic mitochondrial respiratory capacity may underlie lower in vivo mitochondrial function observed in diabetic patients.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—Ten overweight diabetic patients, 12 first-degree relatives, and 16 control subjects, all men, matched for age and BMI, participated in this study. Insulin sensitivity was measured with a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp. Ex vivo intrinsic mitochondrial respiratory capacity was determined in permeabilized skinned muscle fibers using high-resolution respirometry and normalized for mitochondrial content. In vivo mitochondrial function was determined by measuring phosphocreatine recovery half-time after exercise using 31P-magnetic resonance spectroscopy.
RESULTS—Insulin-stimulated glucose disposal was lower in diabetic patients compared with control subjects (11.2 ± 2.8 vs. 28.9 ± 3.7 μmol · kg−1 fat-free mass · min−1, respectively; P = 0.003), with intermediate values for first-degree relatives (22.1 ± 3.4 μmol · kg−1 fat-free mass · min−1). In vivo mitochondrial function was 25% lower in diabetic patients (P = 0.034) and 23% lower in first-degree relatives, but the latter did not reach statistical significance (P = 0.08). Interestingly, ADP-stimulated basal respiration was 35% lower in diabetic patients (P = 0.031), and fluoro-carbonyl cyanide phenylhydrazone–driven maximal mitochondrial respiratory capacity was 31% lower in diabetic patients (P = 0.05) compared with control subjects with intermediate values for first-degree relatives.
CONCLUSIONS—A reduced basal ADP-stimulated and maximal mitochondrial respiratory capacity underlies the reduction in in vivo mitochondrial function, independent of mitochondrial content. A reduced capacity at both the level of the electron transport chain and phosphorylation system underlies this impaired mitochondrial capacity.
PMCID: PMC2570390  PMID: 18678616
23.  Chronic Antidiabetic Sulfonylureas In Vivo: Reversible Effects on Mouse Pancreatic β-Cells 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(10):e206.
Pancreatic β-cell ATP-sensitive potassium (KATP) channels are critical links between nutrient metabolism and insulin secretion. In humans, reduced or absent β-cell KATP channel activity resulting from loss-of-function KATP mutations induces insulin hypersecretion. Mice with reduced KATP channel activity also demonstrate hyperinsulinism, but mice with complete loss of KATP channels (KATP knockout mice) show an unexpected insulin undersecretory phenotype. Therefore we have proposed an “inverse U” hypothesis to explain the response to enhanced excitability, in which excessive hyperexcitability drives β-cells to insulin secretory failure without cell death. Many patients with type 2 diabetes treated with antidiabetic sulfonylureas (which inhibit KATP activity and thereby enhance insulin secretion) show long-term insulin secretory failure, which we further suggest might reflect a similar progression.
Methods and Findings
To test the above hypotheses, and to mechanistically investigate the consequences of prolonged hyperexcitability in vivo, we used a novel approach of implanting mice with slow-release sulfonylurea (glibenclamide) pellets, to chronically inhibit β-cell KATP channels. Glibenclamide-implanted wild-type mice became progressively and consistently diabetic, with significantly (p < 0.05) reduced insulin secretion in response to glucose. After 1 wk of treatment, these mice were as glucose intolerant as adult KATP knockout mice, and reduction of secretory capacity in freshly isolated islets from implanted animals was as significant (p < 0.05) as those from KATP knockout animals. However, secretory capacity was fully restored in islets from sulfonylurea-treated mice within hours of drug washout and in vivo within 1 mo after glibenclamide treatment was terminated. Pancreatic immunostaining showed normal islet size and α-/β-cell distribution within the islet, and TUNEL staining showed no evidence of apoptosis.
These results demonstrate that chronic glibenclamide treatment in vivo causes loss of insulin secretory capacity due to β-cell hyperexcitability, but also reveal rapid reversibility of this secretory failure, arguing against β-cell apoptosis or other cell death induced by sulfonylureas. These in vivo studies may help to explain why patients with type 2 diabetes can show long-term secondary failure to secrete insulin in response to sulfonylureas, but experience restoration of insulin secretion after a drug resting period, without permanent damage to β-cells. This finding suggests that novel treatment regimens may succeed in prolonging pharmacological therapies in susceptible individuals.
In a mouse study aiming to understand why long-term treatment for type 2 diabetes with sulfonylureas eventually fails, Colin Nichols and Maria Remedi suggest that slow restoration of insulin secretion may be possible after a drug-resting period.
Editors' Summary
Diabetes is an increasingly common chronic disease characterized by high blood sugar (glucose) levels. In normal people, blood sugar levels are controlled by the hormone insulin. Insulin is released by β-cells in the pancreas when blood glucose levels rise after eating (glucose is produced by the digestion of food). In fasting people, membrane proteins called ATP-sensitive potassium (KATP) channels keep the β-cell in a “hyperpolarized” state in which they do not secrete insulin. After a meal, glucose enters the β-cell where its chemical breakdown converts ADP into ATP (the molecule that provides the energy that drives cellular processes). The increased ratio of ATP to ADP closes the KATP channels, “depolarizes” the β-cells, and allows the entry of calcium ions, which trigger insulin release. The released insulin then “instructs” insulin-responsive muscle and fat cells to take up glucose from the bloodstream. In type 2 diabetes, the commonest type of diabetes, the muscle and fat cells gradually become nonresponsive to insulin and consequently blood glucose levels rise. Over time, this hyperglycemia increases the risk of heart attacks, kidney failure, and other life-threatening complications. On average, people with diabetes die 5–10 y younger than people without diabetes.
Why Was This Study Done?
People with type 2 diabetes are often initially treated with drugs called sulfonylureas (for example, glibenclamide). Sulfonylureas help to reduce blood glucose levels by inhibiting (in effect, closing) the KATP channels, which enhances insulin secretion. Unfortunately, after patients have been treated for several years with sulfonylureas, their β-cells often stop secreting insulin and the patients then have to inject insulin to control their blood sugar levels. The mechanism by which chronic sulfonylurea treatment affects β-cell behavior is poorly understood, which means that it is hard to improve this antidiabetes treatment. Mice that have been genetically altered so that they have no KATP channels (KATP knockout mice) also rapidly lose their ability to secrete insulin, although they secrete unusually large amounts at birth. This suggests that permanent membrane depolarization (β-cell hyperexcitability) may cause insulin secretory failure. In this study, the researchers investigate whether this mechanism might be responsible for sulfonylurea-induced loss of insulin secretion.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers implanted slowly releasing pellets of glibenclamide into wild-type mice and then monitored their blood glucose levels and glucose tolerance (the speed of glucose removal from the blood after a glucose “meal”) for up to 128 d; the pellets released drug for 90 d. The glibenclamide-implanted mice progressively developed diabetes, lost the ability to secrete insulin in response to glucose and, after 1 wk of treatment, were as glucose intolerant as adult KATP knockout mice. Compared to freshly isolated β-cells from untreated wild-type mice, glucose-stimulated insulin secretion by β-cells isolated from glibenclamide-treated wild-type mice and from KATP knockout mice was reduced to a similar degree. However, the secretory capacity of β-cells isolated from the glibenclamide-treated wild-type mice was restored to normal within hours of drug washout and was normal in β-cells isolated from treated mice 1 mo after exhaustion of the slow-release pellets. Consistent with this result, there was no obvious β-cell death in the glibenclamide-treated mice.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Although findings from animal studies do not always reflect what happens in people, these findings suggest that insulin secretion might sometimes fail in people who take sulfonylureas for a long time, because these drugs cause β-cell hyperexcitability. The finding that the secretory failure caused by sulfonylurea treatment is reversible is important because it suggests that short-acting sulfonylureas might be re-evaluated to see whether they could delay sulfonylurea-induced failure of the insulin secretory response by providing the pancreatic β-cells with periods when they are not depolarized. This finding (and the absence of β-cells death in the glibenclamide-treated mice) also suggests that there may be a way to reverse the loss of the insulin secretory response in patients who have taken sulfonylureas for a long time. Both approaches could help patients with diabetes delay or even avoid the need for insulin injections.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
This study is further discussed in a PLoS Medicine Perspective by Renstrom and colleagues
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia provides information for patients about diabetes (in English and Spanish)
The US National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse provides information on all aspects of diabetes (in English and Spanish)
The International Diabetes Federation also provides comprehensive information about diabetes
Wikipedia has pages on KATP channels and on sulfonylurea drugs (note: Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
PMCID: PMC2573909  PMID: 18959471
24.  Restoration of Muscle Mitochondrial Function and Metabolic Flexibility in Type 2 Diabetes by Exercise Training Is Paralleled by Increased Myocellular Fat Storage and Improved Insulin Sensitivity 
Diabetes  2009;59(3):572-579.
Mitochondrial dysfunction and fat accumulation in skeletal muscle (increased intramyocellular lipid [IMCL]) have been linked to development of type 2 diabetes. We examined whether exercise training could restore mitochondrial function and insulin sensitivity in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Eighteen male type 2 diabetic and 20 healthy male control subjects of comparable body weight, BMI, age, and Vo2max participated in a 12-week combined progressive training program (three times per week and 45 min per session). In vivo mitochondrial function (assessed via magnetic resonance spectroscopy), insulin sensitivity (clamp), metabolic flexibility (indirect calorimetry), and IMCL content (histochemically) were measured before and after training.
Mitochondrial function was lower in type 2 diabetic compared with control subjects (P = 0.03), improved by training in control subjects (28% increase; P = 0.02), and restored to control values in type 2 diabetic subjects (48% increase; P < 0.01). Insulin sensitivity tended to improve in control subjects (delta Rd 8% increase; P = 0.08) and improved significantly in type 2 diabetic subjects (delta Rd 63% increase; P < 0.01). Suppression of insulin-stimulated endogenous glucose production improved in both groups (−64%; P < 0.01 in control subjects and −52% in diabetic subjects; P < 0.01). After training, metabolic flexibility in type 2 diabetic subjects was restored (delta respiratory exchange ratio 63% increase; P = 0.01) but was unchanged in control subjects (delta respiratory exchange ratio 7% increase; P = 0.22). Starting with comparable pretraining IMCL levels, training tended to increase IMCL content in type 2 diabetic subjects (27% increase; P = 0.10), especially in type 2 muscle fibers.
Exercise training restored in vivo mitochondrial function in type 2 diabetic subjects. Insulin-mediated glucose disposal and metabolic flexibility improved in type 2 diabetic subjects in the face of near–significantly increased IMCL content. This indicates that increased capacity to store IMCL and restoration of improved mitochondrial function contribute to improved muscle insulin sensitivity.
PMCID: PMC2828651  PMID: 20028948
25.  Vascular Inflammation, Insulin Resistance and Reduced Nitric Oxide Production Precede the Onset of Peripheral Insulin Resistance 
Obesity causes inflammation and insulin resistance in the vasculature as well as in tissues involved in glucose metabolism such as liver, muscle, and adipose tissue. To investigate the relative susceptibility of vascular tissue to these effects, we determined the time course over which inflammation and insulin resistance develops in various tissues of mice with diet-induced obesity (DIO) and compared these tissue-based responses to changes in circulating inflammatory markers.
Methods and results
Adult male C57BL/6 mice were fed either a control low-fat diet (LF; 10% saturated fat) or a high-fat diet (HF, 60% saturated fat) for durations ranging between 1-14 wk. Cellular inflammation and insulin resistance were assessed by measuring phospho-IκBα and insulin-induced phosphorylation of Akt, respectively, in extracts of thoracic aorta, liver, skeletal muscle and visceral fat. As expected, HF feeding induced rapid increases of body weight, fat mass, and fasting insulin levels compared to controls, each of which achieved statistical significance within 4 weeks. Whereas plasma markers of inflammation became elevated relatively late in the course of DIO (e.g., serum amyloid A (SAA), by Week 14), levels of phospho-IκBα in aortic lysates were elevated by 2-fold within the first week. The early onset of vascular inflammation was accompanied by biochemical evidence of both endothelial dysfunction (reduced nitric oxide production; induction of intracellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1)) and insulin resistance (impaired insulin-induced phosphorylation of Akt and eNOS). Although inflammation and insulin resistance were also detected in skeletal muscle and liver of HF-fed animals, these responses were observed much later (between 4 and 8 wk of HF feeding), and they were not detected in visceral adipose tissue until 14 wk.
During obesity induced by HF feeding, inflammation and insulin resistance develop in the vasculature well before these responses are detected in muscle, liver or adipose tissue. This observation suggests that the vasculature is more susceptible than other tissues to the deleterious effects of nutrient overload.
PMCID: PMC2577575  PMID: 18772497
Nitric Oxide; vascular inflammation; eNOS; insulin resistance; obesity

Results 1-25 (1118025)