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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Oct 1;305(7):E767-75. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00268.2013. Epub 2013 Aug 13.

Role of stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1 in skeletal muscle function and metabolism.

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Department of Nutrition, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, Texas.


Stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1 (SCD1) converts saturated fatty acids (SFA) into monounsaturated fatty acids and is necessary for proper liver, adipose tissue, and skeletal muscle lipid metabolism. While there is a wealth of information regarding SCD1 expression in the liver, research on its effect in skeletal muscle is scarce. Furthermore, the majority of information about its role is derived from global knockout mice, which are known to be hypermetabolic and fail to accumulate SCD1's substrate, SFA. We now know that SCD1 expression is important in regulating lipid bilayer fluidity, increasing triglyceride formation, and enabling lipogenesis and may protect against SFA-induced lipotoxicity. Exercise has been shown to increase SCD1 expression, which may contribute to an increase in intramyocellular triglyceride at the expense of free fatty acids and diacylglycerol. This review is intended to define the role of SCD1 in skeletal muscle and discuss the potential benefits of its activity in the context of lipid metabolism, insulin sensitivity, exercise training, and obesity.


athlete's paradox; desaturation index; fatty acid handling; lipid metabolism; lipotoxicity

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