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Research Article

AMP-activated Protein Kinase α2 Subunit Is Required for the Preservation of Hepatic Insulin Sensitivity by n-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids


OBJECTIVEThe induction of obesity, dyslipidemia, and insulin resistance by high-fat diet in rodents can be prevented by n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs). We tested a hypothesis whether AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) has a role in the beneficial effects of n-3 LC-PUFAs.RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODSMice with a whole-body deletion of the α2 catalytic subunit of AMPK (AMPKα2−/−) and their wild-type littermates were fed on either a low-fat chow, or a corn oil-based high-fat diet (cHF), or a cHF diet with 15% lipids replaced by n-3 LC-PUFA concentrate (cHF+F).RESULTSFeeding a cHF diet induced obesity, dyslipidemia, hepatic steatosis, and whole-body insulin resistance in mice of both genotypes. Although cHF+F feeding increased hepatic AMPKα2 activity, the body weight gain, dyslipidemia, and the accumulation of hepatic triglycerides were prevented by the cHF+F diet to a similar degree in both AMPKα2−/− and wild-type mice in ad libitum-fed state. However, preservation of hepatic insulin sensitivity by n-3 LC-PUFAs required functional AMPKα2 and correlated with the induction of adiponectin and reduction in liver diacylglycerol content. Under hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic conditions, AMPKα2 was essential for preserving low levels of both hepatic and plasma triglycerides, as well as plasma free fatty acids, in response to the n-3 LC-PUFA treatment.CONCLUSIONSOur results show that n-3 LC-PUFAs prevent hepatic insulin resistance in an AMPKα2-dependent manner and support the role of adiponectin and hepatic diacylglycerols in the regulation of insulin sensitivity. AMPKα2 is also essential for hypolipidemic and antisteatotic effects of n-3 LC-PUFA under insulin-stimulated conditions.