Insulin regulation of triacylglycerol-rich lipoprotein synthesis and secretion

Biochim Biophys Acta. 1994 Nov 17;1215(1-2):9-32. doi: 10.1016/0005-2760(94)90088-4.


This review has considered a number of observations obtained from studies of insulin in perfused liver, hepatocytes, transformed liver cells and in vivo and each of the experimental systems offers advantages. The evaluation of insulin effects on component lipid synthesis suggests that overall, lipid synthesis is positively influenced by insulin. Short-term high levels of insulin through stimulation of intracellular degradation of freshly translated apo B and effects on synthesis limit the ability of hepatocytes to form and secrete TRL. The intracellular site of apo B degradation may involve membrane-bound apo B, cytoplasmic apo B and apo B which has entered the ER lumen. How insulin favors intracellular apo B degradation is not known. An area of recent investigation is in insulin-stimulated phosphorylation of intracellular substrates such as IRS-1 which activates insulin specific cellular signaling molecules [245]. Candidate molecules to study insulin action on apo B include IRS-1 and SH2-containing signaling molecules. Insulin dysregulation in carbohydrate metabolism occurs in non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus due to an imbalance between insulin sensitivity of tissue and pancreatic insulin secretion (reviewed in Refs. [307,308]). Insulin resistance in the liver results in the inability to suppress hepatic glucose production; in muscle, in impaired glucose uptake and oxidation and in adipose tissue, in the inability to suppress release of free FA. This lack of appropriate sensitivity towards insulin action leads to hyperglycemia which in turn stimulates compensatory insulin secretion by the pancreas leading to hyperinsulinemia. Ultimately, there may be failure of the pancreas to fully compensate, hyperglycemia worsens and diabetes develops. The etiology of insulin resistance is being intensively studied for the primary defect may be over secretion of insulin by the pancreas or tissue insulin resistance and both of these defects may be genetically predetermined. We suggest that, in addition to effects in carbohydrate metabolism, insulin resistance in liver results in the inability of first phase insulin to suppress hepatic TRL production which results in hypertriglyceridemia leading to high levels of plasma FA which accentuate insulin resistance in other target organs. As recently reviewed [17,254] the role of insulin as a stimulator of hepatic lipogenesis and TRL production has been long established. Several lines of evidence support that insulin is stimulatory to the production of hepatic TRL in vivo. First, population based studies support a positive relationship between plasma insulin and total TG and VLDL [253]. Second, there is a strong association between chronic hyperinsulinemia and VLDL overproduction [309].(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Insulin / physiology*
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Lipoproteins / biosynthesis*
  • Lipoproteins / metabolism
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Triglycerides / biosynthesis*
  • Triglycerides / metabolism


  • Insulin
  • Lipoproteins
  • Triglycerides