TFAM enhances fat oxidation and attenuates high-fat diet-induced insulin resistance in skeletal muscle

Jin Ho Koh, Matthew L. Johnson, Surendra Dasari, Nathan K. LeBrasseur, Ivan Vuckovic, Gregory C. Henderson, Shawna A. Cooper, Shankarappa Manjunatha, Gregory N. Ruegsegger, Gerald I. Shulman, Ian R. Lanza, K. Sreekumaran Nair

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Diet-induced insulin resistance (IR) adversely affects human health and life span. We show that musclespecific overexpression of human mitochondrial transcription factor A (TFAM) attenuates high-fat diet (HFD)-induced fat gain and IR in mice in conjunction with increased energy expenditure and reduced oxidative stress. These TFAM effects on muscle are shown to be exerted by molecular changes that are beyond its direct effect on mitochondrial DNA replication and transcription. TFAM augmented the muscle tricarboxylic acid cycle and citrate synthase facilitating energy expenditure. TFAM enhanced muscle glucose uptake despite increased fatty acid (FA) oxidation in concert with higher b-oxidation capacity to reduce the accumulation of IR-related carnitines and ceramides. TFAM also increased pAMPK expression, explaining enhanced PGC-1a and PPARb, and reversing HFD-induced GLUT4 and pAKT reductions. TFAM-induced mild uncoupling is shown to protect mitochondrial membrane potential against FA-induced uncontrolled depolarization. These coordinated changes conferred protection to TFAM mice against HFD-induced obesity and IR while reducing oxidative stress with potential translational opportunities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1552-1564
Number of pages13
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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