Decreased acylcarnitine content improves insulin sensitivity in experimental mice models of insulin resistance

Edgars Liepinsh (Coresponding Author), Marina Makrecka-Kuka, Elina Makarova, Kristine Volska, Baiba Svalbe, Eduards Sevostjanovs, Solveiga Grinberga, Janis Kuka, Maija Dambrova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


The important pathological consequences of insulin resistance arise from the detrimental effects of accumulated long-chain fatty acids and their respective acylcarnitines. The aim of this study was to test whether exercise combined with decreasing the content of long-chain acylcarnitines represents an effective strategy to improve insulin sensitivity in diabetes. We used a novel compound, 4-[ethyl(dimethyl)ammonio]butanoate (methyl-GBB), treatment and exercise to decrease acylcarnitine contents in the plasma and muscles in the insulin resistance models of high fat diet (HFD) fed C57BL/6 mice and db/db mice. The methyl-GBB treatment induced a substantial decrease in all acylcarnitine concentrations in both fed and fasted states as well as when it was combined with exercise. In the HFD fed mice methyl-GBB treatment improved both glucose and insulin tolerance. Methyl-GBB administration, exercise and the combination of both improved insulin sensitivity and reduced blood glucose levels in db/db mice. Methyl-GBB administration and the combination of the drug and exercise activated the PPARα/PGC1α signaling pathway and stimulated the corresponding target gene expression. Insulin insensitivity in db/db mice was not induced by significantly increased fatty acid metabolism, while increased insulin sensitivity by both treatments was not related to decreased fatty acid metabolism in muscles. The pharmacologically reduced long-chain acylcarnitine content represents an effective strategy to improve insulin sensitivity. The methyl-GBB treatment and lifestyle changes via increased physical activity for one hour a day have additive insulin sensitizing effects in db/db mice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)788-795
Number of pages8
JournalPharmacological Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2016


  • Acylcarnitine
  • Diabetes
  • Energy metabolism
  • Exercise
  • Fatty acid oxidation
  • Novel treatment

Field of Science*

  • 3.1 Basic medicine

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


Dive into the research topics of 'Decreased acylcarnitine content improves insulin sensitivity in experimental mice models of insulin resistance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this