Adaptive reciprocity of lipid and glucose metabolism in human short-term starvation

M.R. Soeters*, P.B. Soeters, M. G. Schooneman, S.M. Houten, J.A. Romijn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The human organism has tools to cope with metabolic challenges like starvation that are crucial for survival. Lipolysis, lipid oxidation, ketone body synthesis, tailored endogenous glucose production and uptake, and decreased glucose oxidation serve to protect against excessive erosion of protein mass, which is the predominant supplier of carbon chains for synthesis of newly formed glucose. The starvation response shows that the adaptation to energy deficit is very effective and coordinated with different adaptations in different organs. From an evolutionary perspective, this lipid-induced effect on glucose oxidation and uptake is very strong and may therefore help to understand why insulin resistance in obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus is difficult to treat. The importance of reciprocity in lipid and glucose metabolism during human starvation should be taken into account when studying lipid and glucose metabolism in general and in pathophysiological conditions in particular.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E1397-1407
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology : Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012


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