Early hepatic insulin resistance in mice: a metabolomics analysis

Mol Endocrinol. 2010 Mar;24(3):657-66. doi: 10.1210/me.2009-0152. Epub 2010 Feb 11.


When fed with a high-fat safflower oil diet for 3 wk, wild-type mice develop hepatic insulin resistance, whereas mice lacking glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase-1 retain insulin sensitivity. We examined early changes in the development of insulin resistance via liver and plasma metabolome analyses that compared wild-type and glycerol-3-phosphate acyltransferase-deficient mice fed with either a low-fat or the safflower oil diet for 3 wk. We reasoned that diet-induced changes in metabolites that occurred only in the wild-type mice would reflect those metabolites that were specifically related to hepatic insulin resistance. Of the identifiable metabolites (from 322 metabolites) in liver, wild-type mice fed with the high-fat diet had increases in urea cycle intermediates, consistent with increased deamination of amino acids used for gluconeogenesis. Also increased were stearoylglycerol, gluconate, glucarate, 2-deoxyuridine, and pantothenate. Decreases were observed in S-adenosylhomocysteine, lactate, the bile acid taurocholate, and 1,5-anhydroglucitol, a previously identified marker of short-term glycemic control. Of the identifiable metabolites (from 258 metabolites) in plasma, wild-type mice fed with the high-fat diet had increases in plasma stearate and two pyrimidine-related metabolites, whereas decreases were found in plasma bradykinin, alpha-ketoglutarate, taurocholate, and the tryptophan metabolite, kynurenine. This study identified metabolites previously not known to be associated with insulin resistance and points to the utility of metabolomics analysis in identifying unrecognized biochemical pathways that may be important in understanding the pathophysiology of diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Deoxyuridine / metabolism
  • Dietary Fats / adverse effects
  • Glucaric Acid / metabolism
  • Gluconates / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Liver / pathology*
  • Metabolomics / methods*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Models, Biological
  • Pantothenic Acid / metabolism
  • S-Adenosylhomocysteine / metabolism
  • Stearates / metabolism


  • Dietary Fats
  • Gluconates
  • Stearates
  • Pantothenic Acid
  • S-Adenosylhomocysteine
  • Glucaric Acid
  • gluconic acid
  • Deoxyuridine