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Resistance to the action of insulin affects fatty acid delivery to the liver, fatty acid synthesis and oxidation within the liver, and triglyceride export from the liver. To understand the metabolic consequences of hepatic fatty acid synthesis, partitioning, oxidation, and net liver fat content in the fasted and postprandial states, we used stable-isotope tracer methodologies to study healthy men and women with varying degrees of insulin resistance before and after consumption of a mixed meal. Subjects were classified as being normoinsulinemic (NI) (fasting plasma insulin <11.2 mU/L, n = 18) or hyperinsulinemic (HI) (fasting plasma insulin >11.2 mU/L, n = 19). Liver fat content was similar between HI and NI individuals, despite HI subjects having marginally more visceral fat. However, de novo lipogenesis was higher and fatty acid oxidation was lower in HI individuals compared with NI subjects. These data suggest that metabolic pathways promoting fat accumulation are enhanced in HI but, paradoxically, without any significant effect on liver fat content when observed in healthy people. This is likely to be explained by increased triglyceride secretion as observed by hypertriglyceridemia.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





1858 - 1867


Adipose Tissue, Adult, Blood Glucose, Body Composition, Fasting, Fatty Acids, Fatty Liver, Female, Glycogen, Humans, Insulin, Insulin Resistance, Lipid Metabolism, Liver, Male, Middle Aged