Disturbances in skeletal muscle lipid metabolism may precede or contribute to the development of whole body insulin resistance. In this study, we examined fasting and postprandial skeletal muscle fatty acid (FA) handling in insulin resistant (IR) men. Thirty men with the metabolic syndrome (MetS) (National Cholesterol Education Program-Adult Treatment Panel III) were included in this sub-study to the LIPGENE study, and divided in two groups (IR and control) based on the median of insulin sensitivity (S(I) = 2.06 (mU/l(-1)).min(-1).10(-4)). Fasting and postprandial skeletal muscle FA handling were examined by combining the forearm balance technique with stable isotopes of palmitate. [(2)H(2)]-palmitate was infused intravenously to label endogenous triacylglycerol (TAG) and free FAs (FFAs) in the circulation and [U-(13)C]-palmitate was incorporated in a high-fat mixed meal (2.6 MJ, 61 E% fat) to label chylomicron-TAG. Muscle biopsies were taken to determine muscle TAG, diacylglycerol (DAG), FFA, and phospholipid (PL) content, their fractional synthetic rates (FSRs) and degree of saturation, as well as messenger RNA (mRNA) expression of genes involved in lipid metabolism. In the first 2 h after meal consumption, forearm muscle [(2)H(2)]-labeled TAG extraction was higher in IR vs. control (P = 0.05). Fasting percentage saturation of muscle DAG was higher in IR vs. control (P = 0.016). No differences were observed for intramuscular TAG, DAG, FFA, and PL content, FSR, and muscle mRNA expression. In conclusion, increased muscle (hepatically derived) TAG extraction during postprandial conditions and increased saturation of intramuscular DAG are associated with insulin resistance, suggesting that disturbances in skeletal muscle FA handling could play a role in the development of whole body insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
van Hees, A. M. J., Jans, A., Hul, G. B., Roche, H. M., Saris, W. H., & Blaak, E. E. (2011). Skeletal muscle fatty acid handling in insulin resistant men. Obesity, 19(7), 1350-1359. https://doi.org/10.1038/oby.2011.10