Synergistic effects of leucine and resveratrol on insulin sensitivity and fat metabolism in adipocytes and mice

Nutr Metab (Lond). 2012 Aug 22;9(1):77. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-9-77.


Background: Sirtuins are important regulators of glucose and fat metabolism, and sirtuin activation has been proposed as a therapeutic target for insulin resistance and diabetes. We have shown leucine to increase mitochondrial biogenesis and fat oxidation via Sirt1 dependent pathways. Resveratrol is a widely recognized activator of Sirt; however, the biologically-effective high concentrations used in cell and animal studies are generally impractical or difficult to achieve in humans. Accordingly, we sought to determine whether leucine would exhibit synergy with low levels of resveratrol on sirtuin-dependent outcomes in adipocytes and in diet-induced obese (DIO) mice.

Methods: 3T3-L1 mouse adipocytes were treated with Leucine (0.5 mM), β-hydroxy-β-methyl butyrate (HMB) (5 μM) or Resveratrol (200 nM) alone or in combination. In addition, diet-induced obese mice were treated for 6-weeks with low (2 g/kg diet) or high (10 g/kg diet) dose HMB, Leucine (24 g/kg diet; 200% of normal level) or low (12.5 mg/kg diet) or high (225 mg/kg diet) dose resveratrol, alone or as combination with leucine-resveratrol or HMB-resveratrol.

Results: Fatty acid oxidation, AMPK, Sirt1 and Sirt3 activity in 3T3-L1 adipocytes and in muscle cells, were significantly increased by the combinations compared to the individual treatments. Similarly, 6-week feeding of low-dose resveratrol combined with either leucine or its metabolite HMB to DIO mice increased adipose Sirt1 activity, muscle glucose and palmitate uptake (measured via PET/CT), insulin sensitivity (HOMAIR), improved inflammatory stress biomarkers (CRP, IL-6, MCP-1, adiponectin) and reduced adiposity comparable to the effects of high dose resveratrol, while low-dose resveratrol exerted no independent effect.

Conclusion: These data demonstrate that either leucine or its metabolite HMB may be combined with a low concentration of resveratrol to exert synergistic effects on Sirt1-dependent outcomes; this may result in more practical dosing of resveratrol in the management of obesity, insulin-resistance and diabetes.