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Diabetes. 2009 Feb;58(2):337-43. doi: 10.2337/db08-1228. Epub 2008 Nov 13.

Plasma ceramides are elevated in obese subjects with type 2 diabetes and correlate with the severity of insulin resistance.

Author information

1
Department of Pathobiology, Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To quantitate plasma ceramide subspecies concentrations in obese subjects with type 2 diabetes and relate these plasma levels to the severity of insulin resistance. Ceramides are a putative mediator of insulin resistance and lipotoxicity, and accumulation of ceramides within tissues in obese and diabetic subjects has been well described.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS:

We analyzed fasting plasma ceramide subspecies by quantitative tandem mass spectrometry in 13 obese type 2 diabetic patients and 14 lean healthy control subjects. Results were related to insulin sensitivity measured with the hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp technique and with plasma tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) levels, a marker of inflammation. Ceramide species (C18:1, 18:0, 20:0, 24:1, and 24:0) were quantified using electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry after separation with high-performance liquid chromatography.

RESULTS:

Insulin sensitivity (mg x kg(-1) x min(-1)) was lower in type 2 diabetic patients (4.90 +/- 0.3) versus control subjects (9.6 +/- 0.4) (P < 0.0001). Type 2 diabetic subjects had higher (P < 0.05) concentrations of C18:0, C20:0, C24:1, and total ceramide. Insulin sensitivity was inversely correlated with C18:0, C20:0, C24:1, C24:0, and total ceramide (all P < 0.01). Plasma TNF-alpha concentration was increased (P < 0.05) in type 2 diabetic subjects and correlated with increased C18:1 and C18:0 ceramide subspecies.

CONCLUSIONS:

Plasma ceramide levels are elevated in type 2 diabetic subjects and may contribute to insulin resistance through activation of inflammatory mediators, such as TNF-alpha.

PMID:
19008343
PMCID:
PMC2628606
DOI:
10.2337/db08-1228
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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