Short term voluntary overfeeding disrupts brain insulin control of adipose tissue lipolysis

Thomas Scherer, Claudia Lindtner, Elizabeth Zielinski, James O'Hare, Nika Filatova, Christoph Buettner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Insulin controls fatty acid (FA) release from white adipose tissue (WAT) through direct effects on adipocytes and indirectly through hypothalamic signaling by reducing sympathetic nervous system outflow to WAT. Uncontrolled FA release from WAT promotes lipotoxicity, which is characterized by inflammation and insulin resistance that leads to and worsens type 2 diabetes. Here we tested whether early diet-induced insulin resistance impairs the ability of hypothalamic insulin to regulate WAT lipolysis and thus contributes to adipose tissue dysfunction. To this end we fed male Sprague-Dawley rats a 10% lard diet (high fat diet (HFD)) for 3 consecutive days, which is known to induce systemic insulin resistance. Rats were studied by euglycemic pancreatic clamps and concomitant infusion of either insulin or vehicle into the mediobasal hypothalamus. Short term HFD feeding led to a 37% increase in caloric intake and elevated base-line free FAs and insulin levels compared with rats fed regular chow. Overfeeding did not impair insulin signaling in WAT, but it abolished the ability of mediobasal hypothalamus insulin to suppress WAT lipolysis and hepatic glucose production as assessed by glycerol and glucose flux. HFD feeding also increased hypothalamic levels of the endocannabinoid 2-arachidonoylglycerol after only 3 days. In summary, overfeeding impairs hypothalamic insulinaction, which may contribute to unrestrained lipolysis seen in human obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33061-33069
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number39
StatePublished - Sep 21 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Short term voluntary overfeeding disrupts brain insulin control of adipose tissue lipolysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this