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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Suppression of systemic, intramuscular, and subcutaneous adipose tissue lipolysis by insulin in humans.

In addition to sc and visceral fat deposits, muscle has been shown to contain relevant amounts of lipids whose breakdown is subject to hormonal regulation. The aim of the present study was to determine insulin dose-response characteristics of systemic, sc adipose tissue and muscle lipolysis in humans. We used a combination of isotopic (primed continuous infusion of [d5]glycerol) and microdialysis techniques (catheters placed in the anterior tibial muscle and sc abdominal adipose tissue) during a three-step hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp (insulin infusion, 0.1, 0.25, 1.0 mU/kg x min) in 13 lean, healthy volunteers. The glycerol rate of appearance was used as the index for systemic lipolysis; interstitial glycerol concentrations were used as the index for muscle and sc adipose tissue lipolysis. The insulin concentrations resulting in a half-maximal suppression (EC50) of systemic lipolysis, adipose tissue, and muscle lipolysis were 51, 68, and 44 pmol/L, respectively (between one another, P < 0.001). For each compartment there were significant correlations between the EC50 and the insulin sensitivity index for glucose disposal (r > 0.67; P < 0.05). However, lipolysis (as percent of baseline) was similar during the first two insulin infusion steps, but was significantly lower in adipose (22+/-2%) than in muscle (53+/-4%; P < 0.001) during step 3. Although we have no direct measurement of interstitial insulin concentrations, we conclude that based on the EC50 values, muscle is more sensitive with respect to the net effect of circulating insulin (transendothelial transport plus intracellular action) on lipolysis than sc adipose tissue in terms of exerting its full suppression within the physiological insulin range. This could be important in muscle for switching from preferential utilization of free fatty acids to glucose in the postprandial state. Inadequate suppression of im lipolysis resulting in excessive local availability of free fatty acids may represent a novel mechanism contributing to the pathogenesis of impaired glucose disposal, i.e. insulin resistance, in muscle.[1]


  1. Suppression of systemic, intramuscular, and subcutaneous adipose tissue lipolysis by insulin in humans. Stumvoll, M., Jacob, S., Wahl, H.G., Hauer, B., Löblein, K., Grauer, P., Becker, R., Nielsen, M., Renn, W., Häring, H. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. (2000) [Pubmed]
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