Objective: To assess the effect of exercise training on insulin sensitivity and plasma ceramides in obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D).
Methods: Twenty-four adults with obesity and normal glucose tolerance (NGT, n = 14) or diabetes (n = 10) were studied before and after a 12-week supervised exercise-training program (5 days/week, 1 h/day, 80-85% of maximum heart rate). Changes in body composition were assessed using hydrostatic weighing and computed tomography. Peripheral tissue insulin sensitivity was assessed by a 40 mU/m(2) /min hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamp. Plasma ceramides (C14:0, C16:0, C18:0, C18:1, C20:0, C24:0, and C24:1) were quantified using electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry after separation with HPLC.
Results: Plasma ceramides were similar for the subjects with obesity and NGT and the subjects with diabetes, despite differences in glucose tolerance. Exercise significantly reduced body weight and adiposity and increased peripheral insulin sensitivity in both groups (P < 0.05). In addition, plasma C14:0, C16:0, C18:1, and C24:0 ceramide levels were reduced in all subjects following the intervention (P < 0.05). Decreases in total (r = -0.51, P = 0.02) and C14:0 (r = -0.56, P = 0.009) ceramide were negatively correlated with the increase in insulin sensitivity.
Conclusions: Ceramides are linked to exercise training-induced improvements in insulin sensitivity, and plasma C14:0 ceramide may provide a specific target for investigating lipid-related insulin resistance in obesity and T2D.
© 2015 The Obesity Society.