Real-time assessment of postprandial fat storage in liver and skeletal muscle in health and type 2 diabetes

B. Ravikumar, P. E. Carey, J. E.M. Snaar, D. K. Deelchand, D. B. Cook, R. D.G. Neely, P. T. English, M. J. Firbank, P. G. Morris, R. Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Liver and skeletal muscle triglyceride stores are elevated in type 2 diabetes and correlate with insulin resistance. As postprandial handling of dietary fat may be a critical determinant of tissue triglyceride levels, we quantified postprandial fat storage in normal and type 2 diabetes subjects. Healthy volunteers (n = 8) and diet-controlled type 2 diabetes subjects (n = 12) were studied using a novel 13C magnetic resonance spectroscopy protocol to measure the postprandial increment in liver and skeletal muscle triglyceride following ingestion of 13C-labeled fatty acids given with a standard mixed meal. The postprandial increment in hepatic triglyceride was rapid in both groups (peak increment controls: +7.3 ± 1.5 mmol/1 at 6 h, P = 0.002; peak increment diabetics: +10.8 ± 3.4 mmol/1 at 4 h, P = 0.009). The mean postprandial incremental AUC of hepatic 13C enrichment between the first and second meals (0 and 4 h) was significantly higher in the diabetes group (6.1 ± 1.4 vs. 1.7 ± 0.6 mmol·1-1·h-1, P = 0.019). Postprandial increment in skeletal muscle triglyceride in the control group was small compared with the diabetic group, the mean 24-h postprandial incremental AUC being 0.2 ± 0.3 vs. 1.7 ± 0.4 mmol·1 -1·h-1 (P = 0.009). We conclude that the postprandial uptake of fatty acids by liver and skeletal muscle is increased in type 2 diabetes and may underlie the elevated tissue triglyceride stores and consequent insulin resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E789-E797
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number4 51-4
StatePublished - Apr 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Fatty acids
  • Liver
  • Magnetic resonance spectroscopy
  • Triglyceride


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