Free fatty acids impair hepatic insulin extraction in vivo.

  1. S R Wiesenthal,
  2. H Sandhu,
  3. R H McCall,
  4. V Tchipashvili,
  5. H Yoshii,
  6. K Polonsky,
  7. Z Q Shi,
  8. G F Lewis,
  9. A Mari and
  10. A Giacca
  1. Department of Physiology, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

    Abstract

    Hyperinsulinemia is a common finding in obesity and results from insulin hypersecretion and impaired hepatic insulin extraction. In vitro studies have shown that free fatty acids (FFAs), which are often elevated in obesity, can impair insulin binding and degradation in isolated rat hepatocytes. To investigate whether FFAs impair hepatic insulin extraction (E(H)) in vivo, either saline (SAL) or 10% Intralipid (0.03 ml x kg(-1) x min(-1)) plus heparin (0.44 U x kg(-1) x min(-1)) (IH) was infused into normal dogs to elevate FFA levels. Insulin was infused intraportally at 18 pmol x kg(-1) x min(-1) for 150 min (period A, high insulin dose), and then at 2.4 pmol x kg(-1) x min(-1) for another 150 min (period B, low insulin dose). After the low portal insulin dose, additional insulin was infused peripherally at 8.4 pmol x kg(-1) x min(-1) for 120 min (period C) to assess the clearance of insulin from the peripheral plasma. In 16 paired experiments, FFA levels were 1,085 +/- 167, 1,491 +/- 240, 1,159 +/- 221 micromol/l (IH) and 221 +/- 44, 329 +/- 72, 176 +/- 44 micromol/l (SAL) in periods A, B, and C, respectively. Peripheral insulin levels were greater with IH (P < 0.001) than with SAL in all periods (1,620 +/- 114, 126 +/- 12, 1,050 +/- 72 pmol/l for IH vs. 1,344 +/- 168, 96 +/- 4.2, 882 +/- 60 pmol/l for SAL). Glucose clearance was impaired by IH in all periods (P < 0.05), whereas glucose production was slightly increased by IH during period B. Peripheral insulin clearance (Cl) and E(H) were calculated from the insulin infusion rate and insulin concentration data in each period by taking into account the nonlinearity of insulin kinetics. Cl was lower (P < 0.01) with IH (9.6 +/- 0.6, 12.0 +/- 0.9, 10.2 +/- 0.6 ml x kg(-1) x min(-1)) than with SAL (11.2 +/- 1, 13.6 +/- 0.7, 11.9 +/- 0.9 ml x kg(-1) x min(-1)) in periods A, B, and C. E(H) was also lower (P < 0.05) with IH (25 +/- 4, 40 +/- 5, 32 +/- 5%) than with SAL (30 +/- 2.8, 47 +/- 3, 38 +/- 3%). We conclude that FFAs can impair hepatic insulin extraction in vivo at high and low insulin levels, an effect that may contribute to the peripheral hyperinsulinemia of obesity.

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