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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2005 Jul 8;332(3):885-91.

Alpha-lipoic acid increases insulin sensitivity by activating AMPK in skeletal muscle.

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Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.


Triglyceride accumulation in skeletal muscle contributes to insulin resistance in obesity. We recently showed that alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) reduces body weight and prevents the development of diabetes in diabetes-prone obese rats by reducing triglyceride accumulation in non-adipose tissues. AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a major regulator of cellular energy metabolism. We examined whether ALA lowers triglyceride accumulation in skeletal muscle by activating AMPK. Alpha2-AMPK activity was decreased in obese rats compared to control rats. Administration of ALA to obese rats increased insulin-stimulated glucose disposal in whole body and in skeletal muscle. ALA also increased fatty acid oxidation and activated AMPK in skeletal muscle. Adenovirus-mediated administration of dominant negative AMPK into skeletal muscle prevented the ALA-induced increases in fatty acid oxidation and insulin-stimulated glucose uptake. These results suggest that ALA-induced improvement of insulin sensitivity is mediated by activation of AMPK and reduced triglyceride accumulation in skeletal muscle.

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