Skeletal Muscle Substrate Metabolism following a High Fat Diet in Sedentary and Endurance Trained Males
Insulin resistance (IR), T2DM, and obesity together form a cluster of interrelated metabolic challenges that may be linked by metabolic inflexibility. Metabolic inflexibility is characterized by the resistance to switching substrate oxidation preference based on substrate availability and can be measured in either fasted or insulin-stimulated conditions. As the largest site for glucose disposal and a primary tissue influencing regulation of blood glucose concentrations, skeletal muscle likely plays a central role in regulating substrate oxidation preference based on substrate availability. Skeletal muscle lipotoxicity caused by an impaired regulation of fat uptake and oxidation is postulated to disrupt insulin signaling and lead to skeletal muscle IR. High dietary saturated fat intake results in reduced basal fat oxidation and a resistance to switching to carbohydrate oxidation during insulin-stimulated conditions in susceptible individuals. This metabolic inflexibility may lead to an accumulation of intramyocellular species that impair insulin signaling. Endurance exercise training improves the capacity for fat oxidation in metabolically inflexible individuals. However, relatively little is known about how endurance exercise training influences substrate oxidation preference when paired with a high fat diet (HFD). Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the effects of a HFD on substrate metabolism in skeletal muscle of sedentary and endurance trained (ET) males. Healthy, sedentary (n=17) and ET (n=7) males first consumed a 10-day moderate carbohydrate diet (55% carbohydrate, 30% total fat, <10% saturated fat) isocaloric to their individual energy requirements and then underwent a 4- hour high fat challenge testing session. During the session, they consumed a high fat meal (820 kcals; 25% carbohydrate, 63% total fat [26% saturated fat]), and skeletal muscle biopsies were taken in the fasted and 4-hour postprandial conditions. Participants then consumed a 5-day HFD (30% carbohydrate, 55% total fat, 25% saturated fat) and repeated the high fat challenge testing session. Substrate oxidation measures were performed on the collected skeletal muscle tissue, and the meal effect, defined as the percent change from the fasting to 4- hour postprandial condition, for each measure was calculated. There was a HFD by physical activity group interaction on meal effect for metabolic flexibility (P<0.05) and a HFD effect on meal effect for glucose oxidation (P<0.05). Meal effects for metabolic flexibility and glucose oxidation were maintained in the ET (20 ± 4% to 41 ± 21% and 128 ± 92% and 41 ± 15%, respectively; both P>0.05) but decreased in the sedentary (34 ± 7% to 4 ± 5% and 78 ± 26% to -21 ± 6%, respectively; both P<0.01) group. There were trends toward HFD effects on reductions in meal effects for total (P=0.062) and incomplete (P=0.075) fat oxidation, which were driven primarily by an increase in fasting total (12.1 ± 2.6 nmol/mg protein/h to 18.5 ± 2.3 nmol/mg protein/h; P<0.01) and incomplete (11.5 ± 2.5 nmol/mg protein/h to 17.6 ± 2.3 nmol/mg protein/h; P<0.01) fat oxidation in the ET group as a result of the HFD. Fasting total and incomplete fat oxidation did not change in the sedentary group (7.3 ± 0.8 nmol/mg protein/h to 7.8 ± 0.8 nmol/mg protein/h and 6.8 ± 0.7 nmol/mg protein/h to 7.2 ± 0.8 nmol/mg protein/h, respectively; both P>0.05). Overall, these findings suggest the ET state attenuates deleterious effects of a short-term HFD on reduced metabolic flexibility and insulin-stimulated glucose oxidation. In addition, a HFD-induced reduction in fat oxidation during the fasted-to-fed transition may be caused by differing mechanisms in sedentary and ET individuals. These findings provide a basis for future work targeting the elucidation of potential mechanistic differences in substrate oxidation preference between sedentary and ET individuals.