Hepatic saturated fatty acid fraction is associated with de novo lipogenesis and hepatic insulin resistance

Lucas Lindeboom, Kay H M Roumans, Pandichelvam Veeraiah, Carlijn M E Remie, Esther Phielix, Bas Havekes, Yvonne M H Bruls, Martijn C G J Brouwers, Marcus Ståhlman, Marjan Alssema, Harry P F Peters, Renée de Mutsert, Bart Staels, Marja-Riitta Taskinen, Jan Borén, Patrick Schrauwen, Vera B Schrauwen-Hinderling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Hepatic steatosis is associated with poor cardiometabolic health, with de novo lipogenesis (DNL) contributing to hepatic steatosis and subsequent insulin resistance. Hepatic saturated fatty acids (SFA) may be a marker of DNL and are suggested to be most detrimental in contributing to insulin resistance. Here, we show in a cross-sectional study design (ClinicalTrials.gov ID: NCT03211299) that we are able to distinguish the fractions of hepatic SFA, mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids in healthy and metabolically compromised volunteers using proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy (1H-MRS). DNL is positively associated with SFA fraction and is elevated in patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver and type 2 diabetes. Intriguingly, SFA fraction shows a strong, negative correlation with hepatic insulin sensitivity. Our results show that the hepatic lipid composition, as determined by our 1H-MRS methodology, is a measure of DNL and suggest that specifically the SFA fraction may hamper hepatic insulin sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1891
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • adipose tissue
  • adult
  • aged
  • cross-sectional studies
  • diabetes mellitus, type 2/metabolism
  • fatty acids/metabolism
  • female
  • humans
  • insulin resistance/physiology
  • lipids
  • lipogenesis/physiology
  • liver/diagnostic imaging
  • male
  • middle aged
  • non-alcoholic fatty liver disease/metabolism
  • triglycerides/metabolism


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