Altered tricarboxylic acid cycle flux in primary myotubes from severely obese humans

<div><h4>BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVE: </h4><p>The partitioning of glucose toward glycolytic end products rather than glucose oxidation and glycogen storage is evident in skeletal muscle with severe obesity and type 2 diabetes. The purpose of the present study was to determine the possible mechanism by which severe obesity alters insulin-mediated glucose partitioning in human skeletal muscle.</p><h4>SUBJECTS/METHODS: </h4><p>Primary human skeletal muscle cells (HSkMC) were isolated from lean (BMI = 23.6 ± 2.6 kg/m<sup>2</sup>, n = 9) and severely obese (BMI = 48.8 ± 1.9 kg/m<sup>2</sup>, n = 8) female subjects. Glucose oxidation, glycogen synthesis, non-oxidized glycolysis, pyruvate oxidation, and targeted TCA cycle metabolomics were examined in differentiated myotubes under basal and insulin-stimulated conditions.</p><h4>RESULTS: </h4><p>Myotubes derived from severely obese subjects exhibited attenuated response of glycogen synthesis (20.3%; 95% CI [4.7, 28.8]; P = 0.017) and glucose oxidation (5.6%; 95% CI [0.3, 8.6]; P = 0.046) with a concomitant greater increase (23.8%; 95% CI [5.7, 47.8]; P = 0.004) in non-oxidized glycolytic end products with insulin stimulation in comparison to the lean group (34.2% [24.9, 45.1]; 13.1% [8.6, 16.4], and 2.9% [-4.1, 12.2], respectively). These obesity-related alterations in glucose partitioning appeared to be linked with reduced TCA cycle flux, as 2-[<sup>14</sup>C]-pyruvate oxidation (358.4 pmol/mg protein/min [303.7, 432.9] vs. lean 439.2 pmol/mg protein/min [393.6, 463.1]; P = 0.013) along with several TCA cycle intermediates, were suppressed in the skeletal muscle of severely obese individuals.</p><h4>CONCLUSIONS: </h4><p>These data suggest that with severe obesity the partitioning of glucose toward anaerobic glycolysis in response to insulin is a resilient characteristic of human skeletal muscle. This altered glucose partitioning appeared to be due, at least in part, to a reduction in TCA cycle flux.</p></div>