Elevated plasma free fatty acids decrease basal protein synthesis, but not the anabolic effect of leucine, in skeletal muscle

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Elevations in free fatty acids (FFAs) impair glucose uptake in skeletal muscle. However, there is no information pertaining to the effect of elevated circulating lipids on either basal protein synthesis or the anabolic effects of leucine and insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I). In chronically catheterized conscious rats, the short-term elevation of plasma FFAs by the 5-h infusion of heparin plus Intralipid decreased muscle protein synthesis by ∼25% under basal conditions. Lipid infusion was associated with a redistribution of eukaryotic initiation factor (eIF)4E from the active eIF4E·eIF4G complex to the inactive eIF4E·4E-BP1 complex. This shift was associated with a decreased phosphorylation of eIF4G but not 4E-BP1. Lipid infusion did not significantly alter either the total amount or phosphorylation state of mTOR, TSC2, S6K1, or the ribosomal protein S6 under basal conditions. In control rats, oral leucine increased muscle protein synthesis. This anabolic response was not impaired by lipid infusion, and no defects in signal transduction pathways regulating translation initiation were detected. In separate rats that received a bolus injection of IGF-I, lipid infusion attenuated the normal redistribution of eIF4E from the active to inactive complex and largely prevented the increased phosphorylation of 4E-BP1, eIF4G, S6K1, and S6. This IGF-I resistance was associated with enhanced Ser307 phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1). These data indicate that the short-term elevation of plasma FFAs impairs basal protein synthesis in muscle by altering eIF4E availability, and this defect may be related to impaired phosphorylation of eIF4G, not 4E-BP1. Moreover, hyperlipidemia impairs IGF-I action but does not produce leucine resistance in skeletal muscle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E666-E674
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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