Arterio-venous balance studies of skeletal muscle fatty acid metabolism: What can we believe?

Zengkui Guo, Michael D. Jensen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The arterio-venous balance (A-V balance/difference) technique has been used by a number of groups, including ours, to study skeletal muscle fatty acid metabolism. Several lines of evidence indicate that, like glycogen, intramyocellular triglycerides (imcTG) are an energy source for local use. As such, the report that increased release of free fatty acids (FFA) via lipolysis from skeletal muscle, but not from adipose tissue, is responsible for the increased systemic lipolysis during IL-6 infusion in healthy humans is somewhat unexpected (26). It appears that given the complex anatomy of human limbs, as to be discussed in this review, it is virtually impossible to determine whether any fatty acids being released into the venous circulation of an arm or leg derive from the lipolysis of intermuscular fat residing between muscle groups, intramuscular fat residing within muscle groups (between epimysium and perimysium, or bundles), or the intramyocellular triglyceride droplets (imcTG). In many cases, it may even be difficult to be confident that there is no contribution of FFA from subcutaneous adipose tissue. This question is fundamentally important as one attempts to interpret the results of skeletal muscle fatty acid metabolism studies using the A-V balance technique. In this Perspectives article, we examine the reported results of fatty acid kinetics obtained using the techniques to evaluate the degree of and how to minimize contamination when attempting to sample skeletal muscle-specific fatty acids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E925-E930
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 15 2013


  • Adipose
  • Arterio-venous balance
  • Arterio-venous difference
  • Fatty acids
  • Forearm
  • Leg
  • Skeletal muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Arterio-venous balance studies of skeletal muscle fatty acid metabolism: What can we believe?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this