Palmitate induces insulin resistance in monocytes and increases expression of the integrin CD11b

Dan Gao, Helen R. Griffiths, Clifford J. Bailey

Research output: Unpublished contribution to conferenceUnpublished Conference Paperpeer-review


Obesity and insulin resistance are important risk factors for atherosclerosis, and elevated level of plasma NEFA is a common feature in individuals with obesity and insulin resistance. Palmitate, one of the most abundant non-esterified SFA in plasma, has been reported to induce insulin resistance in adipose tissues and skeletal muscles and to cause an increased inflammatory response in monocytes. The present study investigated whether palmitate can induce insulin resistance in monocytes and its effect on monocyte adhesion molecular expression (CD11b). Insulin resistance was measured by in vitro uptake of insulin-stimulated 3H-labelled 2-deoxy-D-glucose into THP-1 cells, cell surface CD11b expression was measured by flow cytometry. The data showed that palmitate-induced insulin resistance in THP-1 monocytes was concentration and time dependent (Figure 1). The insulin-stimulated glucose uptake was significantly decreased in cells treated with 300 mM-palmitate compared with control cells (P<0.001) and was observed within 6 h, but was not a result of palmitate toxicity. There was no significant increase in caspase 3 activation (P>0.05). Treatment with 300 mM-palmitate for 24 h also caused a significant increase in surface CD11b expression in both U937 and THP-1 monocytic cell lines and human primary monocytes compared with the control (P<0.001). Both these effects were inhibited by co-incubation with Fumonisin B1, an inhibitor of de novo ceramide synthesis. In conclusion, these data show that palmitate, at physiological concentrations, can cause insulin resistance in monocytes and increase monocyte surface integrin CD11b expression, which is in part the result of the synthesis of ceramide.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - Jul 2007
EventScientific Meeting of the Nutrition Society - University of Ulster, Coleraine, Northern Ireland
Duration: 1 Jul 2007 → …


OtherScientific Meeting of the Nutrition Society
CityUniversity of Ulster, Coleraine, Northern Ireland
Period1/07/07 → …

Bibliographical note

Abstract published in Abstracts of Original Communications Proceedings of the Nutrition Society (2007), 66 (Supplement OCA-B), Cambridge University Press, p.44A. DOI 10.1017/S0029665107005952


  • palmitate
  • insulin resistance
  • monocytes
  • synthesis of ceramide


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