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3-Hydroxyisobutyrate, a strong marker of insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes and obesity that modulates white and brown adipocyte metabolism

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posted on 25.06.2020 by Ada Admin, Mona S. Nilsen, Regine Å. Jersin, Arve Ulvik, André Madsen, Adrian McCann, Per-Arne Svensson, Maria E. Svensson, Bjørn G. Nedrebø, Oddrun A. Gudbrandsen, Grethe S. Tell, C. R. Kahn, Per M. Ueland, Gunnar Mellgren, Simon N. Dankel
Circulating branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) associate with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. 3-Hydroxyisobutyrate (3-HIB) is a catabolic intermediate of the BCAA valine. Here we show that in a cohort of 4,942 men and women, circulating 3-HIB is elevated according to levels of hyperglycemia and established type 2 diabetes. In complementary cohorts with measures of insulin resistance, we found positive correlates for circulating 3-HIB concentrations with HOMA2-IR, as well as a transient increase in 3-HIB followed by a marked decrease after bariatric surgery and weight loss. During differentiation both white and brown adipocytes upregulate BCAA utilization and release increasing amounts of 3-HIB. Knockdown of the 3-HIB-forming enzyme HIBCH decreases release of 3-HIB and lipid accumulation in both cell types. Conversely, addition of 3-HIB to white and brown adipocyte cultures increases fatty acid uptake and modulated insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in a time-dependent manner. Finally, 3-HIB treatment decreases mitochondrial oxygen consumption and generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in white adipocytes, while increasing these measures in brown adipocytes. Our data establish 3-HIB as a novel adipocyte-derived regulator of adipocyte subtype-specific functions strongly linked to obesity, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.


The study was supported by the Research Council of Norway (263124 / F20), the Norwegian Diabetes Association (Diabetesforbundet), Norway, the Western Norway Health Authority, Norway, the Bergen Medical Research Foundation and Trond Mohn Foundation, Bergen, Norway.