Intrahepatic diacylglycerol content is associated with hepatic insulin resistance in obese subjects

Gastroenterology. 2012 Jun;142(7):1444-6.e2. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2012.03.003. Epub 2012 Mar 13.


Data from studies in animal models indicate that certain lipid metabolites, particularly diacylglycerol, ceramide, and acylcarnitine, disrupt insulin action. We evaluated the relationship between the presence of these metabolites in the liver (assessed by mass spectrometry) and hepatic insulin sensitivity (assessed using a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp with stable isotope tracer infusion) in 16 obese adults (body mass index, 48 ± 9 kg/m²). There was a negative correlation between insulin-mediated suppression of hepatic glucose production and intrahepatic diacylglycerol (r = -0.609; P = .012), but not with intrahepatic ceramide or acylcarnitine. These data indicate that intrahepatic diacylglycerol is an important mediator of hepatic insulin resistance in obese people with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Carnitine / analogs & derivatives
  • Carnitine / metabolism
  • Ceramides / metabolism
  • Diglycerides / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Obesity, Morbid / metabolism*


  • Ceramides
  • Diglycerides
  • acylcarnitine
  • Glucose
  • Carnitine