Inhibition of Carnitine Palmitoyltransferase-1 Activity Alleviates Insulin Resistance in Diet-Induced Obese Mice

  1. Gary D. Lopaschuk
  1. Cardiovascular Research Centre, Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute, Department of Pediatrics, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  1. Corresponding author: Gary D. Lopaschuk, gary.lopaschuk{at}
  2. Received 29 February 2012 and accepted 16 August 2012.


Impaired skeletal muscle fatty acid oxidation has been suggested to contribute to insulin resistance and glucose intolerance. However, increasing muscle fatty acid oxidation may cause a reciprocal decrease in glucose oxidation, which might impair insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance. We therefore investigated what effect inhibition of mitochondrial fatty acid uptake has on whole-body glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity in obese insulin-resistant mice. C57BL/6 mice were fed a high-fat diet (60% calories from fat) for 12 weeks to develop insulin resistance. Subsequent treatment of mice for 4 weeks with the carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1 inhibitor, oxfenicine (150 mg/kg i.p. daily), resulted in improved whole-body glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. Exercise capacity was increased in oxfenicine-treated mice, which was accompanied by an increased respiratory exchange ratio. In the gastrocnemius muscle, oxfenicine increased pyruvate dehydrogenase activity, membrane GLUT4 content, and insulin-stimulated Akt phosphorylation. Intramyocellular levels of lipid intermediates, including ceramide, long-chain acyl CoA, and diacylglycerol, were also decreased. Our results demonstrate that inhibition of mitochondrial fatty acid uptake improves insulin sensitivity in diet-induced obese mice. This is associated with increased carbohydrate utilization and improved insulin signaling in the skeletal muscle, suggestive of an operating Randle Cycle in muscle.


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