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J Biol Chem. 2014 May 9;289(19):13575-88. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M113.531970. Epub 2014 Mar 27.

Increased glucose metabolism and glycerolipid formation by fatty acids and GPR40 receptor signaling underlies the fatty acid potentiation of insulin secretion.

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From the Departments of Internal Medicine.


Acute fatty acid (FA) exposure potentiates glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in β cells through metabolic and receptor-mediated effects. We assessed the effect of fatty acids on the dynamics of the metabolome in INS-1 cells following exposure to [U-(13)C]glucose to assess flux through metabolic pathways. Metabolite profiling showed a fatty acid-induced increase in long chain acyl-CoAs that were rapidly esterified with glucose-derived glycerol-3-phosphate to form lysophosphatidic acid, mono- and diacylglycerols, and other glycerolipids, some implicated in augmenting insulin secretion. Glucose utilization and glycolytic flux increased, along with a reduction in the NADH/NAD(+) ratio, presumably by an increase in conversion of dihydroxyacetone phosphate to glycerol-3-phosphate. The fatty acid-induced increase in glycolysis also resulted in increases in tricarboxylic cycle flux and oxygen consumption. Inhibition of fatty acid activation of FFAR1/GPR40 by an antagonist decreased glycerolipid formation, attenuated fatty acid increases in glucose oxidation, and increased mitochondrial FA flux, as evidenced by increased acylcarnitine levels. Conversely, FFAR1/GPR40 activation in the presence of low FA increased flux into glycerolipids and enhanced glucose oxidation. These results suggest that, by remodeling glucose and lipid metabolism, fatty acid significantly increases the formation of both lipid- and TCA cycle-derived intermediates that augment insulin secretion, increasing our understanding of mechanisms underlying β cell insulin secretion.


Diabetes; Fatty Acid Metabolism; Fatty Acid Potentiation of GSIS; G Protein-coupled Receptors (GPCR); GPR40; Glucose Metabolism; Insulin Secretion; Metabolism; Metabolomics; β Cell

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