Triglycerides, a kind of fat found in the liver and blood, are produced in spite of how insulin acts upon the liver, according to new research.
When a person develops insulin resistance, insulin can no longer suppress the production of blood sugar by the liver. At the same time, the production of hepatic triglycerides isn’t prevented, resulting in multiple health risks including high blood sugar and fatty liver disease.
The study, conducted by Yale researchers, tested the theory that the formation of triglycerides in the liver was dependant on the delivery of fatty acids to the liver rather than on insulin.
The researchers used three types of animals – normal rats, insulin-resistant rats fed a high-fat diet and rats with genetically modified insulin receptors – and tested triglyceride production in each. In every case, the production of triglycerides was based on the delivery of fatty acid to the liver rather than insulin action.
The findings also explain the mystery of why insulin therapy reduces fatty liver disease in patients with type 2 diabetes, rather than making it worse. Gerald I. Shulma, the George R. Cowgill Professor of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Psyiology, explained: “These results provide new insight into the pathogenesis of non-alcoholic liver disease and provides new approaches to treat fatty liver disease, which is now the most common liver disease in the world.”
Future research will focus on the application of similar methodologies to insulin-resistant patients with type 2 diabetes, hyperlipidemia, and fatty liver disease.

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