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Propionic acid and butyric acid inhibit lipolysis and de novo lipogenesis and increase insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in primary rat adipocytes.

  • Emilia Heimann
  • Margareta Nyman
  • Eva Degerman
Publishing year: 2015
Language: English
Pages: 81-88
Publication/Series: Adipocyte
Volume: 4
Issue: 2
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Taylor & Francis

Abstract english

Fermentation of dietary fibers by colonic microbiota generates short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), e.g., propionic acid and butyric acid, which have been described to have "anti-obesity properties" by ameliorating fasting glycaemia, body weight and insulin tolerance in animal models. In the present study, we therefore investigate if propionic acid and butyric acid have effects on lipolysis, de novo lipogenesis and glucose uptake in primary rat adipocytes. We show that both propionic acid and butyric acid inhibit isoproterenol- and adenosine deaminase-stimulated lipolysis as well as isoproterenol-stimulated lipolysis in the presence of a phosphodiesterase (PDE3) inhibitor. In addition, we show that propionic acid and butyric acid inhibit basal and insulin-stimulated de novo lipogenesis, which is associated with increased phosphorylation and thus inhibition of acetyl CoA carboxylase, a rate-limiting enzyme in fatty acid synthesis. Furthermore, we show that propionic acid and butyric acid increase insulin-stimulated glucose uptake. To conclude, our study shows that SCFAs have effects on fat storage and mobilization as well as glucose uptake in rat primary adipocytes. Thus, the SCFAs might contribute to healthier adipocytes and subsequently also to improved energy metabolism with for example less circulating free fatty acids, which is beneficial in the context of obesity and type 2 diabetes.


  • Endocrinology and Diabetes


  • Insulin Signal Transduction
  • ISSN: 2162-3945
Eva Degerman
E-mail: eva [dot] degerman [at] med [dot] lu [dot] se


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