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Metabolism. 1992 May;41(5):465-70.

Effect of acute inhibition of lipolysis on operation of the glucose-fatty acid cycle in hepatic cirrhosis.

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Department of Medicine, Medical School, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK.


Hepatic cirrhosis is frequently associated with glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, but the mechanisms underlying the insulin insensitivity are unknown. Plasma concentrations of nonesterified fatty acids (NEFA) are typically elevated in cirrhosis, and the glucose-fatty acid cycle provides a mechanism by which fatty acids may play a role in regulating glucose metabolism. We have therefore investigated the effect of acute inhibition of lipolysis, using the nicotinic acid analogue, acipimox, in 10 male patients with cirrhosis. All subjects were studied in the postabsorptive state after a 10- to 12-hour fast and were given either acipimox 250 mg or a placebo orally 2 hours before a 75-g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) and an infusion of insulin (50 mU/kg/h) and glucose (6 mg/kg/min) (insulin sensitivity tests [IST]). The drug was taken in a double-blind crossover design for each test. During the 2 hours following acipimox, there were rapid decreases in plasma NEFA, glycerol, and 3-hydroxybutyrate, confirming inhibition of lipolysis, while there were significant decreases in glucose, insulin, and C-peptide (P less than .001) compared with patients receiving the placebo. Acipimox blunted the increase in glucose after oral glucose loading and decreased incremental glucose concentration (from 579 +/- 76 to 445 +/- 65 mmol/min/L, P less than .02) and incremental insulin concentration (from 13.4 +/- 2.5 to 9.0 +/- 1.4 U/min/L, P = .056) in the OGTT. Improvements in classification of glucose tolerance were seen in five subjects. During the IST, significant reductions occurred in steady-state blood glucose (to 8.8 +/- 1 mmol/L, P less than .02) and C-peptide (to 3.0 +/- 0.5 nmol/L, P less than .05).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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