Skeletal muscle phosphatidylcholine fatty acids and insulin sensitivity in normal humans

John N. Clore, Jing Li, Ranjodh Gill, Shona Gupta, Robert Spencer, Amin Azzam, Wilhelm Zuelzer, William B. Rizzo, William G. Blackard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


The fatty acid composition of skeletal muscle membrane phospholipids (PL) is known to influence insulin responsiveness in humans. However, the contribution of the major PL of the outer (phosphatidylcholine, PC) and inner (phosphatidylethanolamine, PE) layers of the sarcolemma to insulin sensitivity is not known. Fatty acid composition of PC and PE from biopsies of vastus lateralis from 27 normal men and women were correlated with insulin sensitivity determined by the hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamp technique at insulin infusion rates of 0.4, 1.0, and 10.0 mU. kg-1. min-1. Significant variation in the half-maximal insulin concentration (ED50) was observed in the normal volunteers (range 24.0-146.0 μU/ml), which correlated directly with fasting plasma insulin (r = 0.75, P < 0.0001). ED50 was inversely correlated with the degree of membrane unsaturation (C20C22 polyunsaturated fatty acids; r = 0.58, P < 0.01) and directly correlated with fatty acid elongation (ratio of 16:0 to 18:0, r = 0.45, P < 0.05) in PC. However, no relationship between fatty acid composition and insulin sensitivity was observed in PE (NS). These studies suggest that the fatty acid composition of PC may be of particular importance in the relationship between fatty acids and insulin sensitivity in normal humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E665-E670
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number4 38-4
StatePublished - Oct 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Fatty acid elongation
  • Muscle fiber type
  • Phosphatidylethanolamine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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