Adipose tissue free fatty acid storage in vivo: Effects of insulin versus niacin as a control for suppression of lipolysis

Asem H. Ali, Manpreet Mundi, Christina Koutsari, David A. Bernlohr, Michael D. Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Insulin stimulates the translocation fatty acid transport protein 1 (FATP1) to plasma membrane, and thus greater free fatty acid (FFA) uptake, in adipocyte cell models. Whether insulin stimulates greater FFA clearance into adipose tissue in vivo is unknown. We tested this hypothesis by comparing direct FFA storage in subcutaneous adipose tissue during insulin versus niacin-medicated suppression of lipolysis. We measured direct FFA storage in abdominal and femoral subcutaneous fat in 10 and 11 adults, respectively, during euglycemic hyperinsulinemia or after oral niacin to suppress FFA compared with 11 saline control experiments. Direct palmitate storage was assessed using a [U-13C]palmitate infusion to measure palmitate kinetics and an intravenous palmitate radiotracer bolus/timed biopsy. Plasma palmitate concentrations and flux were suppressed to 23 ±3 and 26 ±5 mmol $ L-1 (P = 0.91) and 44 ± 4 and 39 ± 5 μmol $ min-1 (P = 0.41) in the insulin and niacin groups, respectively, much less (P < 0.001) than the saline control group (102 ± 8 and 104 ± 12 mmol $ min-1, respectively). In the insulin, niacin, and saline groups, abdominal palmitate storage rates were 0.25 ± 0.05 vs. 0.25 ± 0.07 vs. 0.32 ±0.05 μmol $ kg adipose lipid-1 $ min-1, respectively (P = NS), and femoral adipose storage rates were 0.19 ± 0.06 vs. 0.20 ± 0.05 vs. 0.31 ± 0.05 μmol $ kg adipose lipid-1 $ min-1, respectively (P = NS). In conclusion, insulin does not increase FFA storage in adipose tissue compared with niacin, which suppresses lipolysis via a different pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2828-2835
Number of pages8
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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