Resveratrol-induced remodelling of myocellular lipid stores: A study in metabolically compromised humans

N. van Polanen, E. Zacharewicz, M. de Ligt, S. Timmers, E. Moonen-Kornips, G. Schaart, J. Hoeks, P. Schrauwen, M.K.C. Hesselink*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In non-athletes, insulin sensitivity correlates negatively with intramyocellular lipid (IMCL) content. In athletes, however, a pattern of benign IMCL storage exists, which is characterized by lipid storage in type I muscle fibres, in small and numerous lipid droplets (LDs) preferable coated with PLIN5, without affecting insulin sensitivity. Administration of resveratrol has been promoted for its beneficial effects on glucose homeostasis. We observed that 30 days of oral resveratrol administration (150 mg/day) in metabolically compromised individuals showed a 33% increase in IMCL (placebo vs. resveratrol; 0.86 +/- 0.090 AU vs. 1.14 +/- 0.11 AU, p = 0.003) without impeding insulin sensitivity. Thus, the aim of the present study was to examine if a resveratrol-mediated increase in IMCL content, in metabolically compromised individuals, changes the LD phenotype towards the phenotype we previously observed in athletes. For this, we studied IMCL, LD number, LD size, subcellular distribution and PLIN5 coating in different fibre types using high-resolution confocal microscopy. As proof of concept, we observed a 2.3-fold increase (p = 0.038) in lipid accumulation after 48 h of resveratrol incubation in cultured human primary muscle cells. In vivo analysis showed that resveratrol-induced increase in IMCL is predominantly in type I muscle fibres (placebo vs. resveratrol; 0.97 +/- 0.16% vs. 1.26 +/- 0.09%; p = 0.030) in both the subsarcolemmal (p = 0.016) and intermyofibrillar region (p = 0.026) and particularly in PLIN5-coated LDs (p = 0.024). These data indicate that administration of resveratrol augments IMCL content in metabolically compromised individuals towards a LD phenotype that mimics an 'athlete like phenotype'.
Original languageEnglish
Article number14692
Number of pages12
JournalPhysiological Reports
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • intramyocellular

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