Indexed on: 11 Aug '16Published on: 11 Aug '16Published in: American journal of physiology. Endocrinology and metabolism
Impaired skeletal muscle mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation (mFAO) has been implicated in the etiology of insulin resistance. Carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1 (CPT1) is a key regulatory enzyme of mFAO whose activity is inhibited by malonyl-CoA, a lipogenic intermediate. Whereas increasing CPT1 activity in vitro has been shown to exert a protective effect against lipid-induced insulin resistance in skeletal muscle cells, only few studies have addressed this issue in vivo. We thus examined whether a direct modulation of muscle CPT1/malonyl-CoA partnership is detrimental or beneficial for insulin sensitivity in the context of diet-induced obesity. By using a Cre-LoxP recombination approach, we generated mice with skeletal muscle-specific and inducible expression of a mutated CPT1 form (CPT1mt) that is active but insensitive to malonyl-CoA inhibition. When fed control chow, homozygous CPT1mt transgenic (dbTg) mice exhibited decreased CPT1 sensitivity to malonyl-CoA inhibition in isolated muscle mitochondria, which was sufficient to substantially increase ex-vivo muscle mFAO capacity and whole-body FA utilization in vivo. Moreover, dbTg mice were less prone to high-fat/high-sucrose (HFHS) diet-induced insulin resistance and muscle lipotoxicity despite similar body weight gain, adiposity, and muscle malonyl-CoA content. Interestingly, these CPT1mt protective effects in dbTg-HFHS mice were associated with preserved muscle insulin signaling, increased muscle glycogen content and up-regulation of key genes involved in muscle glucose metabolism. These beneficial effects of muscle CPT1mt expression suggest that a direct modulation of the malonyl-CoA/CPT1 partnership in skeletal muscle could represent a potential strategy to prevent obesity-induced insulin resistance.