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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2006 Jan 13;339(2):701-7. Epub 2005 Nov 21.

High-fat diet feeding impairs both the expression and activity of AMPKa in rats' skeletal muscle.

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  • 1Shandong Provincial Hospital Shandong University, Jinan 250021, China.



To investigate the effects of high-fat feeding on the expression and activity of AMPK in rats' skeletal muscle.


Total 40 male Wistar rats were randomly divided into three groups and received either a rat maintenance diet (Control group) or an isocaloric rich-fat diet (HF group and MET group) for five months. Metformin was administered orally with the daily dose of 300mg in MET group during the last month of high-fat feeding. Hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp study was performed to estimate whole-body insulin sensitivity. The ability of insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in isolated skeletal muscle was detected just before execution. mRNA levels of AMPKa1, AMPKa2, and Glut4 of rats' skeletal muscle were determined using real-time PCR. Protein contents of AMPKa, P-AMPKa, P-ACC, and Glut4 in rats' skeletal muscle were measured using Western blot.


(1) Hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp study revealed a significantly impaired insulin action at the whole-body level after high-fat feeding (p<0.01). Also, both basal and insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in isolated skeletal muscle decreased after high-fat feeding (p<0.05), indicating onset of high-fat induced insulin resistance. (2) Five months of high-fat treatment induced a significant decrease of AMPKa protein contents and AMPKa2 mRNA levels in rats' skeletal muscles (p<0.05), while it did not alter AMPKa1 mRNA levels. Protein levels of P-AMPKa also decreased after high-fat feeding (p<0.01). These data suggest that high-fat exposure might impair AMPKa expression and activities. (3) P-ACC protein contents, mRNA and protein levels of Glut4 in rats' skeletal muscles also decreased after high-fat treatment (p<0.05). (4) Compared with HF group, although no significant alternations of AMPKa expression in rats' skeletal muscles were detected, P-AMPKa levels revealed a 162% increase after metformin treatment (p<0.05), demonstrating the AMPK-activating effect of metformin. Accompanied with activation of AMPKa, rats in MET group exhibited significantly elevated P-ACC contents, Glut4 mRNA and protein levels, and an obviously enhanced insulin sensitivity at both whole-body and skeletal muscle levels (p<0.05).


High-fat feeding impaired both the expression and activities of AMPKa, while activating AMPKa by metformin obviously ameliorated high-fat induced insulin resistance, thus indicating a possible role of AMPKa in lipotoxicity.

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