The present study investigated the effect of the two most abundant FFA in plasma – palmitate and oleate – on insulin sensitivity and vascular function (monocyte phenotype and adhesion to endothelium) using in vitro cell culture models and Wistar rats. Palmitate at 300µM for 6h induced insulin resistance in THP-1 monocytes and L6 monocytes. The ceramide synthesis pathway partly accounted for the palmitate-induced insulin resistance in THP-1 monocytes but not for L6 myotubes. Oleate treatment did not induce insulin resistance in either cell type and co-incubation with oleate protected cells from palmitate-induced insulin resistance. Palmitate at 300µN for 24h significantly increased cell surface CD11b and CD36 expression in U937 monocytes. The increase in CD11b and CD36 expression was effectively inhibited by Fumonisin B1, an inhibitor of ceramide synthesis. Oleate treatment did not show any effect on CD11b and CD36 expression and co-incubation with oleate antagonised the effect of palmitate on CD11b and CD36 expression in U937 monocytes. The increase in CD11b expression did not affect U937 monocyte adhesion to ICAM-1. Treating Wistar rats with palmitate for 6h caused a transient delay in glucose disposal and an increase in adhesion of U937 monocytes to the aortic endothelium, particularly at bifurcations. In conclusion, the present study demonstrates that the saturated free fatty acid palmitate induces insulin resistance and a pro-atherogenic phenotype for monocytes, whereas the unsaturated free fatty acid oleate does not. In vivo studies also confirmed that palmitate induces insulin resistance and an increase in monocyte adhesion to aorta.
|Date of Award
|Helen R Griffiths (Supervisor), Andrew Devitt (Supervisor) & Clifford Bailey (Supervisor)
- insulin resistance
- pro-atherogenic phenotype