Palmitoyl-carnitine production by blood cells associates with the concentration of circulating acyl-carnitines in healthy overweight women
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BACKGROUND: Circulating acyl-carnitines (acyl-CNTs) are associated with insulin resistance (IR) and type 2 diabetes (T2D) in both rodents and humans. However, the mechanisms whereby circulating acyl-CNTs are increased in these conditions and their role in whole-body metabolism remains unknown. The purpose of this study was to determine if, in humans, blood cells contribute in production of circulating acyl-CNTs and associate with whole-body fat metabolism. METHODS AND RESULTS: Eight non-diabetic healthy women (age: 47 ± 19 y; BMI: 26 ± 1 kg·m-2) underwent stable isotope tracer infusion and hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp study to determine in vivo whole-body fatty acid flux and insulin sensitivity. Blood samples collected at baseline (0 min) and after 3 h of clamp were used to determine the synthesis rate of palmitoyl-carnitine (palmitoyl-CNT) in vitro. The fractional synthesis rate of palmitoyl-CNT was significantly higher during hyperinsulinemia (0.788 ± 0.084 vs. 0.318 ± 0.012%·hr-1, p = 0.001); however, the absolute synthesis rate (ASR) did not differ between the periods (p = 0.809) due to ∼30% decrease in blood palmitoyl-CNT concentration (p = 0.189) during hyperinsulinemia. The ASR of palmitoyl-CNT significantly correlated with the concentration of acyl-CNTs in basal (r = 0.992, p < 0.001) and insulin (r = 0.919, p = 0.001) periods; and the basal ASR significantly correlated with plasma palmitate oxidation (r = 0.764, p = 0.027). CONCLUSION: In women, blood cells contribute to plasma acyl-CNT levels and the acyl-CNT production is linked to plasma palmitate oxidation, a marker of whole-body fat metabolism. Future studies are needed to confirm the role of blood cells in acyl-CNT and lipid metabolism under different physiological (i.e., in response to meal) and pathological (i.e., hyperlipidemia, IR and T2D) conditions.
author list (cited authors)
Chondronikola, M., Asghar, R., Zhang, X., Dillon, E. L., Durham, W. J., Wu, Z., ... Tuvdendorj, D.