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Hepatology. 2011 Apr;53(4):1175-81. doi: 10.1002/hep.24170. Epub 2011 Mar 11.

Regulation of hepatic fat and glucose oxidation in rats with lipid-induced hepatic insulin resistance.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT; Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Sciences and Technology, University of Coimbra, Portugal.


Pyruvate dehydrogenase plays a critical role in the regulation of hepatic glucose and fatty acid oxidation; however, surprisingly little is known about its regulation in vivo. In this study we examined the individual effects of insulin and substrate availability on the regulation of pyruvate dehydrogenase flux (V(PDH) ) to tricarboxylic acid flux (V(TCA) ) in livers of awake rats with lipid-induced hepatic insulin resistance. V(PDH) /V(TCA) flux was estimated from the [4-(13) C]glutamate/[3-(13) C]alanine enrichments in liver extracts and assessed under conditions of fasting and during a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp, whereas the effects of increased plasma glucose concentration on V(PDH) /V(TCA) flux was assessed during a hyperglycemic clamp in conjunction with infusions of somatostatin and insulin to maintain basal concentrations of insulin. The effects of increases in both glucose and insulin on V(PDH) /V(TCA) were examined during a hyperinsulinemic-hyperglycemic clamp. The effects of chronic lipid-induced hepatic insulin resistance on this flux were also examined by performing these measurements in rats fed a high-fat diet for 3 weeks. Using this approach we found that fasting V(PDH) /V(TCA) was reduced by 95% in rats with hepatic insulin resistance (from 17.2 ± 1.5% to 1.3 ± 0.7%, P < 0.00001). Surprisingly, neither hyperinsulinemia per se or hyperglycemia per se were sufficient to increase V(PDH) /V(TCA) flux. Only under conditions of combined hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia did V(PDH) /V(TCA) flux increase (44.6 ± 3.2%, P < 0.0001 versus basal) in low-fat fed animals but not in rats with chronic lipid-induced hepatic insulin resistance.


These studies demonstrate that the combination of both hyperinsulinemia and hyperglycemia are required to increase V(PDH) /V(TCA) flux in vivo and that this flux is severely diminished in rats with chronic lipid-induced hepatic insulin resistance.

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