- Adipose tissue is essential for metabolic homeostasis, balancing lipid storage and mobilization based on nutritional status. This is coordinated by insulin, which triggers kinase signaling cascades to modulate numerous metabolic proteins, leading to increased glucose uptake and anabolic processes like lipogenesis. Given recent evidence that glucose is dispensable for adipocyte respiration, we sought to test whether glucose is necessary for insulin-stimulated anabolism. Examining lipogenesis in cultured adipocytes, glucose was essential for insulin to stimulate the synthesis of fatty acids and glyceride–glycerol.
- Adipose tissue is essential for whole-body glucose homeostasis, with a primary role in lipid storage. It has been previously observed that lactate production is also an important metabolic feature of adipocytes, but its relationship to adipose and whole-body glucose disposal remains unclear. Therefore, using a combination of metabolic labeling techniques, here we closely examined lactate production of cultured and primary mammalian adipocytes. Insulin treatment increased glucose uptake and conversion to lactate, with the latter responding more to insulin than did other metabolic fates of glucose.
- Insulin action in adipose tissue is crucial for whole-body glucose homeostasis, with insulin resistance being a major risk factor for metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Recent studies have proposed mitochondrial oxidants as a unifying driver of adipose insulin resistance, serving as a signal of nutrient excess. However, neither the substrates for nor sites of oxidant production are known. Because insulin stimulates glucose utilization, we hypothesized that glucose oxidation would fuel respiration, in turn generating mitochondrial oxidants.
- Mitochondrial oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction, or both have been implicated in insulin resistance. However, disentangling the individual roles of these processes in insulin resistance has been difficult because they often occur in tandem, and tools that selectively increase oxidant production without impairing mitochondrial respiration have been lacking. Using the dimer/monomer status of peroxiredoxin isoforms as an indicator of compartmental hydrogen peroxide burden, we provide evidence that oxidative stress is localized to mitochondria in insulin-resistant 3T3-L1 adipocytes and adipose tissue from mice.