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1.  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
2.  Reduced Incorporation of Fatty Acids Into Triacylglycerol in Myotubes From Obese Individuals With Type 2 Diabetes 
Diabetes  2014;63(5):1583-1593.
Altered skeletal muscle lipid metabolism is a hallmark feature of type 2 diabetes (T2D). We investigated muscle lipid turnover in T2D versus BMI-matched control subjects (controls) and examined whether putative in vivo differences would be preserved in the myotubes. Male obese T2D individuals (n = 6) and BMI-matched controls (n = 6) underwent a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp, VO2max test, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry scan, underwater weighing, and muscle biopsy of the vastus lateralis. 14C-palmitate and 14C-oleate oxidation rates and incorporation into lipids were measured in muscle tissue as well as in primary myotubes. Palmitate oxidation (controls: 0.99 ± 0.17 nmol/mg protein; T2D: 0.53 ± 0.07 nmol/mg protein; P = 0.03) and incorporation of fatty acids (FAs) into triacylglycerol (TAG) (controls: 0.45 ± 0.13 nmol/mg protein; T2D: 0.11 ± 0.02 nmol/mg protein; P = 0.047) were significantly reduced in muscle homogenates of T2D. These reductions were not retained for palmitate oxidation in primary myotubes (P = 0.38); however, incorporation of FAs into TAG was lower in T2D (P = 0.03 for oleate and P = 0.11 for palmitate), with a strong correlation of TAG incorporation between muscle tissue and primary myotubes (r = 0.848, P = 0.008). The data indicate that the ability to incorporate FAs into TAG is an intrinsic feature of human muscle cells that is reduced in individuals with T2D.
PMCID: PMC4023412  PMID: 24487026
3.  Blocking the Entrance to Open the Gate 
Diabetes  2013;62(3):703-705.
PMCID: PMC3581194  PMID: 23431016
4.  Rev-erb-α modulates skeletal muscle oxidative capacity by regulating mitochondrial biogenesis and autophagy 
Nature medicine  2013;19(8):1039-1046.
The nuclear receptor Rev-erb-α modulates hepatic lipid and glucose metabolism, adipogenesis and the inflammatory response in macrophages. We show here that Rev-erb-α is highly expressed in oxidative skeletal muscle and plays a role in mitochondrial biogenesis and oxidative function, in gain- and loss-of function studies. Rev-erb-α-deficiency in skeletal muscle leads to reduced mitochondrial content and oxidative function, resulting in compromised exercise capacity. This phenotype was recapitulated in isolated fibers and in muscle cells upon Rev-erbα knock-down, while Rev-erb-α over-expression increased the number of mitochondria with improved respiratory capacity. Rev-erb-α-deficiency resulted in deactivation of the Stk11–Ampk–Sirt1–Ppargc1-α signaling pathway, whereas autophagy was up-regulated, resulting in both impaired mitochondrial biogenesis and increased clearance. Muscle over-expression or pharmacological activation of Rev-erb-α increased respiration and exercise capacity. This study identifies Rev-erb-α as a pharmacological target which improves muscle oxidative function by modulating gene networks controlling mitochondrial number and function.
PMCID: PMC3737409  PMID: 23852339
Rev-erb-α; skeletal muscle; oxidative capacity; mitochondrial biogenesis; autophagy
5.  Calorie restriction-like effects of 30 days of Resveratrol (resVida™) supplementation on energy metabolism and metabolic profile in obese humans 
Cell metabolism  2011;14(5):10.1016/j.cmet.2011.10.002.
Resveratrol is a natural compound that affects energy metabolism and mitochondrial function and serves as a calorie restriction mimetic, at least in animal models of obesity. Here we treated 11 healthy, obese men with placebo and 150 mg/day resveratrol in a randomized double-blind cross-over study for 30 days. Resveratrol significantly reduced sleeping- and resting metabolic rate. In muscle, resveratrol activated AMPK, increased SIRT1 and PGC-1α protein levels, increased citrate synthase activity without change in mitochondrial content, and improved muscle mitochondrial respiration on a fatty acid-derived substrate. Furthermore, resveratrol elevated intramyocellular lipid levels, and decreased intrahepatic lipid content, circulating glucose, triglycerides, alanine-aminotransferase, and inflammation markers. Systolic blood pressure dropped and HOMA index improved after resveratrol. In the postprandial state, adipose tissue lipolysis and plasma fatty acid and glycerol decreased. In conclusion, we demonstrate that 30 days of resveratrol supplementation induces metabolic changes in obese humans, mimicking the effects of calorie restriction.
PMCID: PMC3880862  PMID: 22055504
6.  Perilipin 2 Improves Insulin Sensitivity in Skeletal Muscle Despite Elevated Intramuscular Lipid Levels 
Diabetes  2012;61(11):2679-2690.
Type 2 diabetes is characterized by excessive lipid storage in skeletal muscle. Excessive intramyocellular lipid (IMCL) storage exceeds intracellular needs and induces lipotoxic events, ultimately contributing to the development of insulin resistance. Lipid droplet (LD)–coating proteins may control proper lipid storage in skeletal muscle. Perilipin 2 (PLIN2/adipose differentiation–related protein [ADRP]) is one of the most abundantly expressed LD-coating proteins in skeletal muscle. Here we examined the role of PLIN2 in myocellular lipid handling and insulin sensitivity by investigating the effects of in vitro PLIN2 knockdown and in vitro and in vivo overexpression. PLIN2 knockdown decreased LD formation and triacylglycerol (TAG) storage, marginally increased fatty-acid (FA) oxidation, and increased incorporation of palmitate into diacylglycerols and phospholipids. PLIN2 overexpression in vitro increased intramyocellular TAG storage paralleled with improved insulin sensitivity. In vivo muscle-specific PLIN2 overexpression resulted in increased LD accumulation and blunted the high-fat diet–induced increase in protein content of the subunits of the oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) chain. Diacylglycerol levels were unchanged, whereas ceramide levels were increased. Despite the increased IMCL accumulation, PLIN2 overexpression improved skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity. We conclude that PLIN2 is essential for lipid storage in skeletal muscle by enhancing the partitioning of excess FAs toward TAG storage in LDs, thereby blunting lipotoxicity-associated insulin resistance.
PMCID: PMC3478528  PMID: 22807032
7.  High Oxidative Capacity Due to Chronic Exercise Training Attenuates Lipid-Induced Insulin Resistance 
Diabetes  2012;61(10):2472-2478.
Fat accumulation in skeletal muscle combined with low mitochondrial oxidative capacity is associated with insulin resistance (IR). Endurance-trained athletes, characterized by a high oxidative capacity, have elevated intramyocellular lipids, yet are highly insulin sensitive. We tested the hypothesis that a high oxidative capacity could attenuate lipid-induced IR. Nine endurance-trained (age = 23.4 ± 0.9 years; BMI = 21.2 ± 0.6 kg/m2) and 10 untrained subjects (age = 21.9 ± 0.9 years; BMI = 22.8 ± 0.6 kg/m2) were included and underwent a clamp with either infusion of glycerol or intralipid. Muscle biopsies were taken to perform high-resolution respirometry and protein phosphorylation/expression. Trained subjects had ∼32% higher mitochondrial capacity and ∼22% higher insulin sensitivity (P < 0.05 for both). Lipid infusion reduced insulin-stimulated glucose uptake by 63% in untrained subjects (P < 0.05), whereas this effect was blunted in trained subjects (29%, P < 0.05). In untrained subjects, lipid infusion reduced oxidative and nonoxidative glucose disposal (NOGD), whereas trained subjects were completely protected against lipid-induced reduction in NOGD, supported by dephosphorylation of glycogen synthase. We conclude that chronic exercise training attenuates lipid-induced IR and specifically attenuates the lipid-induced reduction in NOGD. Signaling data support the notion that high glucose uptake in trained subjects is maintained by shuttling glucose toward storage as glycogen.
PMCID: PMC3447923  PMID: 22787138
8.  Relationship of C5L2 Receptor to Skeletal Muscle Substrate Utilization 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57494.
To investigate the role of Acylation Stimulating Protein (ASP) receptor C5L2 in skeletal muscle fatty acid accumulation and metabolism as well as insulin sensitivity in both mice and human models of diet-induced insulin resistance.
Design and Methods
Male wildtype (WT) and C5L2 knockout (KO) mice were fed a low (LFD) or a high (HFD) fat diet for 10 weeks. Intramyocellular lipid (IMCL) accumulation (by oil red O staining) and beta-oxidation HADH enzyme activity were determined in skeletal muscle. Mitochondria were isolated from hindleg muscles for high-resolution respirometry. Muscle C5L2 protein content was also determined in obese type 2 diabetics and age- and BMI matched men.
IMCL levels were increased by six-fold in C5L2KO-HFD compared to WT-HFD mice (p<0.05) and plasma insulin levels were markedly increased in C5L2KO-HFD mice (twofold, p<0.05). Muscle HADH activity was elevated in C5L2KO-LFD mice (+75%, p<0.001 vs. WT-LFD) and C5L2KO-HFD displayed increased mitochondrial fatty acid oxidative capacity compared to WT-HFD mice (+23%, p<0.05). In human subjects, C5L2 protein content was reduced (−48%, p<0.01) in type 2 diabetic patients when compared to obese controls. Further, exercise training increased C5L2 (+45%, p = 0.0019) and ASP (+80%, p<0.001) in obese insulin-resistant men.
The results suggest that insulin sensitivity may be permissive for coupling of C5L2 levels to lipid storage and utilization.
PMCID: PMC3583831  PMID: 23460866
9.  The lipid droplet coat protein perilipin 5 also localizes to muscle mitochondria 
Histochemistry and Cell Biology  2011;137(2):205-216.
Perilipin 5 (PLIN5/OXPAT) is a lipid droplet (LD) coat protein mainly present in tissues with a high fat-oxidative capacity, suggesting a role for PLIN5 in facilitating fatty acid oxidation. Here, we investigated the role of PLIN5 in fat oxidation in skeletal muscle. In human skeletal muscle, we observed that PLIN5 (but not PLIN2) protein content correlated tightly with OXPHOS content and in rat muscle PLIN5 content correlated with mitochondrial respiration rates on a lipid-derived substrate. This prompted us to examine PLIN5 protein expression in skeletal muscle mitochondria by means of immunogold electron microscopy and Western blots in isolated mitochondria. These data show that PLIN5, in contrast to PLIN2, not only localizes to LD but also to mitochondria, possibly facilitating fatty acid oxidation. Unilateral overexpression of PLIN5 in rat anterior tibialis muscle augmented myocellular fat storage without increasing mitochondrial density as indicated by the lack of change in protein content of five components of the OXPHOS system. Mitochondria isolated from PLIN5 overexpressing muscles did not possess increased fatty acid respiration. Interestingly though, 14C-palmitate oxidation assays in muscle homogenates from PLIN5 overexpressing muscles revealed a 44.8% (P = 0.05) increase in complete fatty acid oxidation. Thus, in mitochondrial isolations devoid of LD, PLIN5 does not augment fat oxidation, while in homogenates containing PLIN5-coated LD, fat oxidation is higher upon PLIN5 overexpression. The presence of PLIN5 in mitochondria helps to understand why PLIN5, in contrast to PLIN2, is of specific importance in fat oxidative tissues. Our data suggests involvement of PLIN5 in directing fatty acids from the LD to mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation.
PMCID: PMC3262136  PMID: 22127648
PLIN5; OXPAT; Perilipin; Lipid droplet; Fatty acid oxidation; Mitochondria
10.  Prolonged Fasting Identifies Skeletal Muscle Mitochondrial Dysfunction as Consequence Rather Than Cause of Human Insulin Resistance 
Diabetes  2010;59(9):2117-2125.
Type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance have been associated with mitochondrial dysfunction, but it is debated whether this is a primary factor in the pathogenesis of the disease. To test the concept that mitochondrial dysfunction is secondary to the development of insulin resistance, we employed the unique model of prolonged fasting in humans. Prolonged fasting is a physiologic condition in which muscular insulin resistance develops in the presence of increased free fatty acid (FFA) levels, increased fat oxidation and low glucose and insulin levels. It is therefore anticipated that skeletal muscle mitochondrial function is maintained to accommodate increased fat oxidation unless factors secondary to insulin resistance exert negative effects on mitochondrial function.
While in a respiration chamber, twelve healthy males were subjected to a 60 h fast and a 60 h normal fed condition in a randomized crossover design. Afterward, insulin sensitivity was assessed using a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp, and mitochondrial function was quantified ex vivo in permeabilized muscle fibers using high-resolution respirometry.
Indeed, FFA levels were increased approximately ninefold after 60 h of fasting in healthy male subjects, leading to elevated intramuscular lipid levels and decreased muscular insulin sensitivity. Despite an increase in whole-body fat oxidation, we observed an overall reduction in both coupled state 3 respiration and maximally uncoupled respiration in permeabilized skeletal muscle fibers, which could not be explained by changes in mitochondrial density.
These findings confirm that the insulin-resistant state has secondary negative effects on mitochondrial function. Given the low insulin and glucose levels after prolonged fasting, hyperglycemia and insulin action per se can be excluded as underlying mechanisms, pointing toward elevated plasma FFA and/or intramuscular fat accumulation as possible causes for the observed reduction in mitochondrial capacity.
PMCID: PMC2927932  PMID: 20573749
11.  Paradoxical Increase in TAG and DAG Content Parallel the Insulin Sensitizing Effect of Unilateral DGAT1 Overexpression in Rat Skeletal Muscle 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(1):e14503.
The involvement of muscle triacylglycerol (TAG) storage in the onset of insulin resistance is questioned and the attention has shifted towards inhibition of insulin signalling by the lipid intermediate diacylglycerol (DAG). The enzyme 1,2-acylCoA:diacylglyceroltransferase-1 (DGAT1) esterifies a fatty acyl-CoA on DAG to form TAG. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate if unilateral overexpression of DGAT1 in adult rat Tibialis anterior (TA) muscle will increase conversion of the lipid intermediate DAG into TAG, thereby improving muscle insulin sensitivity.
Methodology/Principal Findings
The DGAT1 gene construct was injected in the left TA muscle of male rats on chow or high-fat (45% kcal) diet for three weeks, followed by application of one 800 V/cm and four 80 V/cm pulses, using the contralateral leg as sham-electroporated control. Seven days after electroporation, muscle specific insulin sensitivity was assessed with a hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamp using 2-deoxy-[3H]glucose. Here, we provide evidence that unilateral overexpression of DGAT1 in TA muscle of male rats is associated with an increased rather than decreased DAG content. Strikingly, this increase in DAG content was accompanied by improved muscle insulin sensitivity. Interestingly, markers of muscle lipolysis and mitochondrial function were also increased in DGAT1 overexpressing muscle.
We conclude that unilateral DGAT1 overexpression can rescue insulin sensitivity, possibly by increasing DAG and TAG turnover in skeletal muscle. In case of a proper balance between the supply and oxidation of fatty acids in skeletal muscle, the lipid intermediate DAG may not exert harmful effects on insulin signalling.
PMCID: PMC3021516  PMID: 21264296
12.  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
13.  Increased uncoupling protein 3 content does not affect mitochondrial function in human skeletal muscle in vivo 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2003;111(4):479-486.
Phosphocreatine (PCr) resynthesis rate following intense anoxic contraction can be used as a sensitive index of in vivo mitochondrial function. We examined the effect of a diet-induced increase in uncoupling protein 3 (UCP3) expression on postexercise PCr resynthesis in skeletal muscle. Nine healthy male volunteers undertook 20 one-legged maximal voluntary contractions with limb blood flow occluded to deplete muscle PCr stores. Exercise was performed following 7 days consumption of low-fat (LF) or high-fat (HF) diets. Immediately following exercise, blood flow was reinstated, and muscle was sampled after 20, 60, and 120 seconds of recovery. Mitochondrial coupling was assessed by determining the rate of PCr resynthesis during recovery. The HF diet increased UCP3 protein content by approximately 44% compared with the LF diet. However, this HF diet–induced increase in UCP3 expression was not associated with any changes in the rate of muscle PCr resynthesis during conditions of maximal flux through oxidative phosphorylation. Muscle acetylcarnitine, free-creatine, and lactate concentrations during recovery were unaffected by the HF diet. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that increasing muscle UCP3 expression does not diminish the rate of PCr resynthesis, allowing us to conclude that the primary role of UCP3 in humans is not uncoupling.
PMCID: PMC152374  PMID: 12588886

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