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Open Access Research

Synergistic effects of leucine and resveratrol on insulin sensitivity and fat metabolism in adipocytes and mice

Antje Bruckbauer1, Michael B Zemel12*, Teresa Thorpe2, Murthy R Akula3, Alan C Stuckey3, Dustin Osborne3, Emily B Martin3, Stephen Kennel34 and Jonathan S Wall34

Author Affiliations

1 NuSirt Sciences Inc, 11020 Solway School Rd, Knoxville, TN, 37931, USA

2 Department of Nutrition, University of Tennessee, 1215 W. Cumberland Ave, Knoxville, TN, 37996, USA

3 Departments of Radiology, University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine, 1924 Alcoa Highway, Knoxville, TN, 37920-6999, USA

4 Department of Medicine, University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine, 1924 Alcoa Highway, Knoxville, TN, 37920-6999, USA

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Nutrition & Metabolism 2012, 9:77  doi:10.1186/1743-7075-9-77

Published: 22 August 2012

Abstract

Background

Sirtuins are important regulators of glucose and fat metabolism, and sirtuin activation has been proposed as a therapeutic target for insulin resistance and diabetes. We have shown leucine to increase mitochondrial biogenesis and fat oxidation via Sirt1 dependent pathways. Resveratrol is a widely recognized activator of Sirt; however, the biologically-effective high concentrations used in cell and animal studies are generally impractical or difficult to achieve in humans. Accordingly, we sought to determine whether leucine would exhibit synergy with low levels of resveratrol on sirtuin-dependent outcomes in adipocytes and in diet-induced obese (DIO) mice.

Methods

3T3-L1 mouse adipocytes were treated with Leucine (0.5 mM), β-hydroxy-β-methyl butyrate (HMB) (5 μM) or Resveratrol (200 nM) alone or in combination. In addition, diet-induced obese mice were treated for 6-weeks with low (2 g/kg diet) or high (10 g/kg diet) dose HMB, Leucine (24 g/kg diet; 200% of normal level) or low (12.5 mg/kg diet) or high (225 mg/kg diet) dose resveratrol, alone or as combination with leucine-resveratrol or HMB-resveratrol.

Results

Fatty acid oxidation, AMPK, Sirt1 and Sirt3 activity in 3T3-L1 adipocytes and in muscle cells, were significantly increased by the combinations compared to the individual treatments. Similarly, 6-week feeding of low-dose resveratrol combined with either leucine or its metabolite HMB to DIO mice increased adipose Sirt1 activity, muscle glucose and palmitate uptake (measured via PET/CT), insulin sensitivity (HOMAIR), improved inflammatory stress biomarkers (CRP, IL-6, MCP-1, adiponectin) and reduced adiposity comparable to the effects of high dose resveratrol, while low-dose resveratrol exerted no independent effect.

Conclusion

These data demonstrate that either leucine or its metabolite HMB may be combined with a low concentration of resveratrol to exert synergistic effects on Sirt1-dependent outcomes; this may result in more practical dosing of resveratrol in the management of obesity, insulin-resistance and diabetes.

Keywords:
Diabetes; HMB; Inflammatory stress; Insulin-resistance; Leucine; Obesity; Resveratrol; Sirt1; Sirt3; Synergy