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Sandra Pereira, Anu Shah, I George Fantus, Jamie W Joseph and Adria Giacca

Circulating free fatty acids (FFAs) are elevated in obesity and cause insulin resistance. The objective of the current study was to determine whether the antioxidant N-acetyl-l-cysteine (NAC) prevented hepatic and peripheral insulin resistance caused by prolonged elevation of plasma FFAs. Chronically cannulated Wistar rats received saline (SAL), Intralipid plus heparin (IH), IH plus NAC, or NAC i.v. infusion for 48 h. Insulin sensitivity was determined using the hyperinsulinemic–euglycemic clamp with tritiated glucose tracer. IH induced hepatic and peripheral insulin resistance (P<0.05). NAC co-infusion did not prevent insulin resistance in the liver, although it was able to prevent peripheral insulin resistance. Prolonged IH infusion did not appear to induce oxidative stress in the liver because hepatic content of protein carbonyl, malondialdehyde, and reduced to oxidized glutathione ratio did not differ across treatment groups. In alignment with our insulin sensitivity results, IH augmented skeletal muscle protein carbonyl content and this was prevented by NAC co-infusion. Taken together, our results indicate that oxidative stress mediates peripheral, but not hepatic, insulin resistance resulting from prolonged plasma FFA elevation. Thus, in states of chronic plasma FFA elevation, such as obesity, antioxidants may protect against peripheral but not hepatic insulin resistance.

Open access

Sandra Pereira, Wen Qin Yu, María E Frigolet, Jacqueline L Beaudry, Yaniv Shpilberg, Edward Park, Cristina Dirlea, B L Grégoire Nyomba, Michael C Riddell, I George Fantus and Adria Giacca

We have shown in rats that sodium salicylate (SS), which inhibits IkBa kinase B (IKKB), prevents hepatic and peripheral insulin resistance caused by short-term (7 h) i.v. administration of Intralipid and heparin (IH). We wished to further determine whether this beneficial effect of SS persisted after prolonged (48 h) IH infusion, which better mimics the chronic free fatty acid (FFA) elevation of obesity. Hence, we performed hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamps with tritiated glucose methodology to determine hepatic and peripheral insulin sensitivity in rats infused with saline, IH, IH and SS, or SS alone. SS prevented peripheral insulin resistance (P<0.05) caused by prolonged plasma FFA elevation; however, it did not prevent hepatic insulin resistance. In skeletal muscle, protein levels of phospho-IkBa were augmented by prolonged IH administration and this was prevented by SS, suggesting that IH activates while SS prevents the activation of IKKB. Markers of IKKB activation, namely protein levels of phospho-IkBa and IkBa, indicated that IKKB is not activated in the liver after prolonged FFA elevation. Phosphorylation of serine 307 at insulin receptor substrate (IRS)-1, which is a marker of proximal insulin resistance, was not altered by IH administration in the liver, suggesting that this is not a site of hepatic insulin resistance in the prolonged lipid infusion model. Our results suggest that the role of IKKB in fat-induced insulin resistance is time and tissue dependent and that hepatic insulin resistance induced by prolonged lipid elevation is not due to an IRS-1 serine 307 kinase.