Fatty Acid Incubation of Myotubes From Humans With Type 2 Diabetes Leads to Enhanced Release of β-Oxidation Products Because of Impaired Fatty Acid Oxidation

Effects of Tetradecylthioacetic Acid and Eicosapentaenoic Acid

  1. Andreas J. Wensaas1,
  2. Arild C. Rustan2,
  3. Marlene Just3,
  4. Rolf K. Berge4,
  5. Christian A. Drevon1 and
  6. Michael Gaster3
  1. 1Department of Nutrition, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  2. 2Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences, School of Pharmacy, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
  3. 3Department of Endocrinology, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark
  4. 4Lipid Research Group of Medicine, Haukeland University Hospital, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway
  1. Corresponding author: Andreas J. Wensaas, a.j.wensaas{at}medisin.uio.no


OBJECTIVE—Increased availability of fatty acids is important for accumulation of intracellular lipids and development of insulin resistance in human myotubes. It is unknown whether different types of fatty acids like eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) or tetradecylthioacetic acid (TTA) influence these processes.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—We examined fatty acid and glucose metabolism and gene expression in cultured human skeletal muscle cells from control and type 2 diabetic individuals after 4 days of preincubation with EPA or TTA.

RESULTS—Type 2 diabetes myotubes exhibited reduced formation of CO2 from palmitic acid (PA), whereas release of β-oxidation products was unchanged at baseline but significantly increased with respect to control myotubes after preincubation with TTA and EPA. Preincubation with TTA enhanced both complete (CO2) and β-oxidation of palmitic acid, whereas EPA increased only β-oxidation significantly. EPA markedly enhanced triacylglycerol (TAG) accumulation in myotubes, more pronounced in type 2 diabetes cells. TAG accumulation and fatty acid oxidation were inversely correlated only after EPA preincubation, and total level of acyl-CoA was reduced. Glucose oxidation (CO2 formation) was enhanced and lactate production decreased after chronic exposure to EPA and TTA, whereas glucose uptake and storage were unchanged. EPA and especially TTA increased the expression of genes involved in fatty acid uptake, activation, accumulation, and oxidation.

CONCLUSIONS—Our results suggest that 1) mitochondrial dysfunction in diabetic myotubes is caused by disturbances downstream of fatty acid β-oxidation; 2) EPA promoted accumulation of TAG, enhanced β-oxidation, and increased glucose oxidation; and 3) TTA improved complete palmitic acid oxidation in diabetic myotubes, opposed increased lipid accumulation, and increased glucose oxidation.


  • Published ahead of print at http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org on 9 December 2008.

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    • Accepted November 19, 2008.
    • Received July 31, 2008.
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