Dietary fat and insulin resistance: a connection through leptin and PPARγ activation

Doaa Nader Al-Jada, Mousa Numan Ahmad


Insulin resistance refers to reduced insulin action in peripheral tissues and impaired suppression of endogenous glucose production, a state which is critical for maintaining normal glucose homeostasis. Insulin resistance is partly explained by genetic factors and is strongly influenced by the individual's habitual lifestyle. Investigating factors that may influence the development of insulin resistance and their mechanisms of action is of huge importance; one such factor is the dietary fat. Both quantitative and qualitative terms of dietary fat have been known to play an important role in the development of insulin resistance, though the mechanism underlying this effect is not fully understood. In this regard, the classical view has been that dietary fat quality mainly affects cell membrane fatty acid composition and consequently the membrane function. Recently, the relationship between dietary fat and insulin resistance has entered an advanced level by the discovery that different fatty acids can regulate gene expression, transcriptional activity and adipocytokines secretion. In essence, this provides new mechanisms by which fatty acids exert their cellular effects. The present review critically assesses the effect of dietary fat quality on the development of insulin resistance in relation to the adipocytokine, leptin and the activation of the transcription factor, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ). It is evident that fat quality influences the development of insulin resistance and has more important role than quantity. Leptin and PPARγ prove to be potential candidates linking dietary fat with insulin resistance. However, the exact role or mechanism of action of various types of dietary fat in the development of insulin resistance is still uncertain. Further well-controlled studies in humans are needed to be able to establish better evidence-based dietary fat recommendations for diabetes prevention and its clinical management. 

Keywords: dietary fat, insulin resistance, diabetes, PPARγ activation, leptin. 

Full Text: [Abstract] [Full Article]

DOI: 10.31989/ffhd.v6i6.249


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Copyright (c) 2016 Mousa Numan Ahmad, Doaa Nader Al-Jada