High fat diet-induced modifications in membrane lipid and mitochondrial-membrane protein signatures precede the development of hepatic insulin resistance in mice

M. Kahle, A. Schäfer, A. Seelig, J. Schultheiß, M. Wu, M. Aichler, J. Leonhardt, B. Rathkolb, J. Rozman, H. Sarioglu, S. M. Hauck, M. Ueffing, E. Wolf, G. Kastenmueller, J. Adamski, A. Walch, M. Hrabé de Angelis, S. Neschen

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35 Scopus citations


Objective: Excess lipid intake has been implicated in the pathophysiology of hepatosteatosis and hepatic insulin resistance. Lipids constitute approximately 50% of the cell membrane mass, define membrane properties, and create microenvironments for membrane-proteins. In this study we aimed to resolve temporal alterations in membrane metabolite and protein signatures during high-fat diet (HF)-mediated development of hepatic insulin resistance. Methods: We induced hepatosteatosis by feeding C3HeB/FeJ male mice an HF enriched with long-chain polyunsaturated C18:2n6 fatty acids for 7, 14, or 21 days. Longitudinal changes in hepatic insulin sensitivity were assessed via the euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp, in membrane lipids via t-metabolomics- and membrane proteins via quantitative proteomics-analyses, and in hepatocyte morphology via electron microscopy. Data were compared to those of age- and litter-matched controls maintained on a low-fat diet. Results: Excess long-chain polyunsaturated C18:2n6 intake for 7 days did not compromise hepatic insulin sensitivity, however, induced hepatosteatosis and modified major membrane lipid constituent signatures in liver, e.g. increased total unsaturated, long-chain fatty acid-containing acyl-carnitine or membrane-associated diacylglycerol moieties and decreased total short-chain acyl-carnitines, glycerophosphocholines, lysophosphatidylcholines, or sphingolipids. Hepatic insulin sensitivity tended to decrease within 14 days HF-exposure. Overt hepatic insulin resistance developed until day 21 of HF-intervention and was accompanied by morphological mitochondrial abnormalities and indications for oxidative stress in liver. HF-feeding progressively decreased the abundance of protein-components of all mitochondrial respiratory chain complexes, inner and outer mitochondrial membrane substrate transporters independent from the hepatocellular mitochondrial volume in liver. Conclusions: We assume HF-induced modifications in membrane lipid- and protein-signatures prior to and during changes in hepatic insulin action in liver alter membrane properties - in particular those of mitochondria which are highly abundant in hepatocytes. In turn, a progressive decrease in the abundance of mitochondrial membrane proteins throughout HF-exposure likely impacts on mitochondrial energy metabolism, substrate exchange across mitochondrial membranes, contributes to oxidative stress, mitochondrial damage, and the development of insulin resistance in liver.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-50
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Metabolism
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • 2-[C]DG
  • ALT
  • AUC
  • B
  • Basal
  • Clamp
  • DAG
  • Diabetes
  • EGP
  • GIR
  • HF
  • Hepatosteatosis
  • IS
  • LF
  • LysoPC
  • Metabolomics
  • Mitochondria
  • NEFA
  • PCaa
  • PCae
  • Proteomics
  • ROS
  • Ra
  • Rd
  • Rg
  • SM
  • TAG
  • WAT
  • WAT


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