Reduced AMP-activated protein kinase activity in mouse skeletal muscle does not exacerbate the development of insulin resistance with obesity

S. Beck Jørgensen*, H. M. O'Neill, K. Hewitt, B. E. Kemp, G. R. Steinberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Aims/hypothesis: Obesity-related insulin resistance is associated with accumulation of bioactive lipids in skeletal muscle. The AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) regulates lipid oxidation in muscle by inhibiting acetyl-CoA carboxylase-2 (ACC2) and increasing mitochondrial biogenesis. We investigated whether reduced levels of muscle AMPK promote lipid accumulation and insulin resistance during high-fat feeding. Methods: Male C57/BL6 wild-type mice and transgenic littermates overexpressing an α2AMPK kinase-dead (KD) in muscle were fed control or high-fat diet. Whole-body glucose homeostasis was assessed by glucose and insulin tolerance tests, and by measuring fasting and fed serum insulin and glucose. Insulin action in muscle was determined by measuring 2-deoxy-[3H]glucose uptake and Akt phosphorylation in incubated soleus and extensor digitorum longus muscles. Muscle triacylglycerol, diacylglycerol and ceramide content was measured by thin-layer chromatography. Mitochondrial proteins were measured by immunoblotting. Results: KD mice had reduced skeletal muscle α2AMPK activity (50% in gastrocnemius and >80% in soleus and extensor digitorum longus) and ACC2 Ser228 phosphorylation (90% in gastrocnemius). High-fat feeding increased body mass and adiposity, and impaired insulin and glucose tolerance; however, there were no differences between wild-type and KD littermates. High-fat feeding impaired insulin-stimulated muscle glucose uptake and Akt-phosphorylation, while increasing muscle triacylglycerol, diacylglycerol (p=0.07) and ceramide, but these effects were not exacerbated in KD mice. In response to high-fat feeding, mitochondrial proteins were increased to similar levels in wild-type and KD muscles. Conclusions/interpretation: Obesity-induced lipid accumulation and insulin resistance were not exacerbated in AMPK KD mice, suggesting that reduced levels of muscle α2AMPK do not promote insulin resistance in the early phase of obesity-related diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2395-2404
Number of pages10
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009
Externally publishedYes


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