Effect of insulin and acute diabetes on plasma FFA and ketone bodies in the fasting rat

J Clin Invest. 1970 Sep;49(9):1685-93. doi: 10.1172/JCI106386.


The metabolism of FFA and ketone bodies was studied in fasted rats by infusing at a constant rate tracer amounts of FFA-(3)H, beta-hydroxybutyrate-(14)C or acetoacetate-(14)C for periods up to 2 hr. Blood that was removed for analyses was replaced by continuous transfusion. The rates of turnover of FFA, beta-hydroxybutyrate, and acetoacetate in rats fasted for 2 days were, respectively, 3.2, 5.6, and 2.5 mumoles/100 g body weight per min. Infusion of mannoheptulose with anti-insulin serum increased plasma glucose, FFA, and ketone body concentrations and decreased the specific activity of plasma FFA. Injection of insulin (20 mU i.v.) decreased almost simultaneously plasma glucose, FFA, and ketone body concentrations and increased the specific activity of FFA, but it did not affect the plasma concentration of FFA-(3)H. The findings indicate that insulin deprivation increased and insulin injection decreased the release of FFA from body tissues in fasting rats. The plasma FFA concentration in fasting rats was increased by infusing chylomicrons and heparin, but this had very little effect on either plasma ketone body or glucose concentrations. Insulin injection (20 mU i.v.) lowered the plasma ketone body concentration in these animals. Studies using beta-hydroxybutyrate-(14)C showed that insulin (50 mU i.v.) decreased ketogenesis in the presence of a sustained high plasma FFA concentration and had no effect on uptake of circulating ketone bodies. The results indicate that plasma FFA concentration is not the sole determinant of plasma ketone body concentration and that insulin can suppress ketone body production through some means other than lowering plasma FFA concentration.

MeSH terms

  • Acetoacetates / pharmacology*
  • Adipose Tissue / drug effects*
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Blood Transfusion*
  • Carbon Isotopes*
  • Chylomicrons / pharmacology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / blood*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / chemically induced*
  • Fasting*
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood*
  • Female
  • Heparin / pharmacology*
  • Hydroxybutyrates / pharmacology*
  • Immune Sera / pharmacology*
  • Insulin / pharmacology*
  • Ketone Bodies / blood*
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Rats*
  • Tritium*


  • Acetoacetates
  • Blood Glucose
  • Carbon Isotopes
  • Chylomicrons
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Hydroxybutyrates
  • Immune Sera
  • Insulin
  • Ketone Bodies
  • Tritium
  • Heparin