Long-term rates of mitochondrial protein synthesis are increased in mouse skeletal muscle with high-fat feeding regardless of insulin-sensitizing treatment

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2017 Nov 1;313(5):E552-E562. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00144.2017. Epub 2017 Jul 11.


Skeletal muscle mitochondrial protein synthesis is regulated in part by insulin. The development of insulin resistance with diet-induced obesity may therefore contribute to impairments to protein synthesis and decreased mitochondrial respiration. Yet the impact of diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance on mitochondrial energetics is controversial, with reports varying from decreases to increases in mitochondrial respiration. We investigated the impact of changes in insulin sensitivity on long-term rates of mitochondrial protein synthesis as a mechanism for changes to mitochondrial respiration in skeletal muscle. Insulin resistance was induced in C57BL/6J mice using 4 wk of a high-fat compared with a low-fat diet. For 8 additional weeks, diets were enriched with pioglitazone to restore insulin sensitivity compared with nonenriched control low-fat or high-fat diets. Skeletal muscle mitochondrial protein synthesis was measured using deuterium oxide labeling during weeks 10-12 High-resolution respirometry was performed using palmitoyl-l-carnitine, glutamate+malate, and glutamate+malate+succinate as substrates for mitochondria isolated from quadriceps. Mitochondrial protein synthesis and palmitoyl- l-carnitine oxidation were increased in mice consuming a high-fat diet, regardless of differences in insulin sensitivity with pioglitazone treatment. There was no effect of diet or pioglitazone treatment on ADP-stimulated respiration or H2O2 emission using glutamate+malate or glutamate+malate+succinate. The results demonstrate no impairments to mitochondrial protein synthesis or respiration following induction of insulin resistance. Instead, mitochondrial protein synthesis was increased with a high-fat diet and may contribute to remodeling of the mitochondria to increase lipid oxidation capacity. Mitochondrial adaptations with a high-fat diet appear driven by nutrient availability, not intrinsic defects that contribute to insulin resistance.

Keywords: deuterium oxide; mitochondria; protein turnover; respiration; tracer.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diet, High-Fat*
  • Dietary Fats / pharmacology*
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mitochondria, Muscle / drug effects
  • Mitochondria, Muscle / metabolism
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Oxidation-Reduction / drug effects
  • Pioglitazone
  • Protein Biosynthesis / drug effects*
  • Protein Biosynthesis / physiology
  • Thiazolidinediones / pharmacology
  • Up-Regulation / drug effects


  • Dietary Fats
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Thiazolidinediones
  • Pioglitazone