Greater dietary fat oxidation in obese compared with lean men: an adaptive mechanism to prevent liver fat accumulation?
Hodson L., McQuaid SE., Humphreys SM., Milne R., Fielding BA., Frayn KN., Karpe F.
Liver fat represents a balance between input, secretion, and oxidation of fatty acids. As humans spend the majority of a 24-h period in a postprandial state, dietary fatty acids make an important contribution to liver fat metabolism. We compared hepatic fatty acid partitioning in healthy lean (n = 9) and abdominally obese (n = 10) males over 24 h. Volunteers received three mixed meals adjusted for basal metabolic rate. U-13C-labeled fatty acids were incorporated into the meals, and [2H2]palmitate was infused intravenously to distinguish between sources of fatty acids incorporated into VLDL-TG. Immunoaffinity chromatography was used to isolate VLDL-TG of hepatic origin. Liver and whole body fatty acid oxidation was assessed by isotopic enrichment of 3-hydoxybutyrate and breath CO2. We found a similar contribution of dietary fatty acids to VLDL-TG in the two groups over 24 h. The contribution of fatty acids from splanchnic sources was higher (P < 0.05) in the abdominally obese group. Ketogenesis occurred to a significantly greater extent in abdominally obese compared with lean males, largely due to lessened downregulation of postprandial ketogenesis (P < 0.001). The appearance of 13C in breath CO2 was also greater (P < 0.001) in abdominally obese compared with lean men. Hepatic elongation and desaturation of palmitic acid were higher (P < 0.05) in abdominally obese than in lean males. Oxidation of dietary fatty acids and hepatic desaturation and elongation of palmitic acid occurred to a greater extent in abdominally obese men. These alterations may represent further pathways for redirection of fatty acids into export from the liver or oxidation to prevent liver fat accumulation.