Role of hexosamines in insulin resistance and nutrient sensing in human adipose and muscle tissue.
SourceJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 89, 10, (2004), pp. 5132-5137
Article / Letter to editor
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Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
SubjectUMCN 2.2: Vascular medicine and diabetes; UMCN 5.2: Endocrinology and reproduction
It has been proposed that the hexosamine pathway acts as a nutrient-sensing pathway, protecting the cell against abundant fuel supply, and that accumulation of hexosamines represents a biochemical mechanism by which hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia induce insulin resistance. We hypothesized that if an increased flux through the hexosamine pathway caused insulin resistance in humans, the hexosamine levels should be increased in adipose and/or muscle tissue in insulin-resistant subjects, such as patients with type 2 diabetes and obese individuals. In addition, we reasoned that if the hexosamine pathway were a nutrient-sensing pathway, hexosamine levels in adipose and skeletal muscle tissue should be correlated with levels of circulating nutrients, such as glucose and free fatty acids (FFAs) and leptin concentrations.In a human cross-sectional study of 55 patients [20 with type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) and 21 normal-lean (NL) and 14 normal-obese (NO) subjects] who underwent hip replacement surgery, adipose and muscle tissue biopsies were obtained and analyzed for levels of hexosamines [UDP-N-acetylglucosamine (UDP-GlcNAc) and UDP-N-acetylgalactosamine] and hexoses (UDP-glucose and UDP-galactose). Fasting plasma glucose, glycosylated hemoglobin, serum insulin and homeostasis model assessment calculations, serum lipids, and leptin were measured on the same day.Hexosamines were not elevated in adipose and muscle tissue of patients with type 2 DM compared with NL and NO subjects (UDP-GlcNac DM vs. NL vs. NO, 3.3 +/- 2.3 vs. 2.2 +/- 2.1 vs. 3.0 +/- 2.0 nmol/g tissue in adipose tissue and 8.1 +/- 2.9 vs. 7.8 +/- 2.8 vs. 7.6 +/- 2.8 nmol/g tissue in muscle tissue, respectively). Hexosamines in adipose tissue were positively correlated with circulating levels of FFA (UDP-GlcNAc, r = 0.33, P < 0.05; UDP-N-acetylgalactosamine, r = 0.41, P < 0.01). Adipose tissue UDP-GlcNAc was correlated with leptin levels (r = 0.33; P < 0.05). No such relationship was identified in muscle tissue.In conclusion, these findings argue against a pathophysiological role of the hexosamine pathway in insulin resistance in humans but support the hypothesis that the hexosamine pathway in adipose tissue, not in muscle, is a FFA-sensing pathway and could be involved in the regulation of leptin expression.
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