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Am J Physiol. 1978 Feb;234(2):E182-9.

Primary role of decreased fatty acid synthesis in insulin resistance of large rat adipocytes.


The ability of large fat cells from spontaneously obese rats to synthesize fatty acids from D-[1-14C]glucose, D-[6-14C]glucose, or [2-14C]pyruvate was markedly diminished compared to small fat cells from lean animals. Furthermore, fatty acid synthetase and acetyl coenzyme A carboxylase activities in dialyzed homogenates of large fat cells were inhibited by 84 and 90%, respectively, compared to small cells. Pentose shunt activity, but not glycolytic flux, was also markedly inhibited in large fat cells incubated with or without insulin. However, the NADPH oxidant vitamin K5 completely restored pentose shunt activity in large cells to the elevated levels observed in small fat cells in the presence of this agent or insulin. Furthermore, inhibition of mitochondrial oxidation and fatty acid synthesis in small cells by rotenone led to a secondary inhibition of pentose shunt activity indicating a link between these two pathways. Direct measurements of glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase and 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase activities in fat cell homogenates showed no difference between cell types. The data provide strong support for the hypothesis that the fatty acid synthetic pathway is the primary metabolic defect in large insulin-resistant rat adipocytes, a defect which secondarily leads to inhibited pentose shunt activity.

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