Distinct mechanisms involving diacylglycerol, ceramides, and inflammation underlie insulin resistance in oxidative and glycolytic muscles from high fat-fed rats

Sci Rep. 2021 Sep 27;11(1):19160. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-98819-7.


This study investigated whether oxidative and glycolytic rat skeletal muscles respond differently to a high-fat (HF) sucrose-enriched diet with respect to diacylglycerol (DAG) and ceramides accumulation, protein kinase C (PKC) activation, glucose metabolism, and the expression of inflammatory genes. HF diet (8 weeks) suppressed insulin-stimulated glycogen synthesis and glucose oxidation in soleus (Sol), extensor digitorum longus (EDL) and epitrochlearis (Epit) muscles. However, DAG and ceramides levels increased in Sol and EDL, but not in Epit muscles of HF-fed rats. Additionally, membrane-bound PKC-delta and PKC-theta increased in Sol and EDL, whereas in Epit muscles both PKC isoforms were reduced by HF diet. In Epit muscles, HF diet also increased the expression of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) receptors (CD40 and FAS), toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), and nuclear factor kappa light polypeptide gene enhancer in B cells (NF-kB), whereas in Sol and EDL muscles the expression of these inflammatory genes remained unchanged upon HF feeding. In conclusion, HF diet caused DAG and ceramides accumulation, PKC activation, and the induction of inflammatory pathways in a fiber type-specific manner. These findings help explain why oxidative and glycolytic muscles similarly develop insulin resistance, despite major differences in their metabolic characteristics and responsiveness to dietary lipid abundance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ceramides / analysis
  • Ceramides / metabolism
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects
  • Dietary Sucrose / adverse effects
  • Diglycerides / analysis
  • Diglycerides / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Glycolysis / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / diagnosis
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance / immunology*
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / immunology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / immunology
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Oxidative Stress / immunology
  • Rats


  • 1,2-diacylglycerol
  • Ceramides
  • Dietary Sucrose
  • Diglycerides
  • Insulin