Clinical endocrinology

In vivo activity of 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 and free fatty acid-induced insulin resistance.

PMID 16181237


Free fatty acids (FFAs) induce hepatic insulin resistance and enhance hepatic gluconeogenesis. Glucocorticoids (GCs) also stimulate hepatic gluconeogenesis. The aim of this study was to investigate whether the FFA-induced hepatic insulin resistance is mediated by increased activity of hepatic 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11beta-HSD1), accompanied by elevated hepatic cortisol levels. Following a 10-h overnight fast, six healthy male volunteers were investigated. A euglycaemic hyperinsulinaemic clamp was performed during lipid or saline infusion. To assess hepatic 11beta-HSD1 activity, plasma cortisol levels were measured after oral administration of cortisone acetate during lipid or saline infusion. In addition, 11beta-HSD activities were determined in vivo by calculating the urinary ratios of GC metabolites. Lipid infusion increased FFAs (5.41 +/- 1.00 vs. 0.48 +/- 0.20 mmol/l; P < 0.005) and significantly increased insulin resistance [glucose infusion rate (GIR) 6.02 +/- 2.60 vs. 4.08 +/- 2.15 mg/kg/min; P < 0.005]. After lipid and saline infusions no changes in 11beta-HSD1 activity were found, neither by changes in cortisone acetate to cortisol conversion nor by differences in urinary free cortisol (UFF) or cortisone (UFE), 5beta-tetrahydrocortisol (THF), 5alpha-THF, cortisone (THE), UFF/UFE and (5alpha-THF + THF)/THE ratios. We found no change in hepatic and whole-body 11beta-HSD1 activity during acute FFA-induced insulin resistance. Further studies are necessary to clarify whether 11beta-HSD1 in muscle and adipose tissue is influenced by FFAs and whether 11beta-HSD1 is involved in other conditions of insulin resistance.

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