The transition from the fed to the fasted resting state is characterized by, among other things, changes in lipid metabolism and peripheral insulin resistance. Acylcarnitines have been suggested to play a role in insulin resistance, as well as other long-chain fatty acid metabolites. Plasma levels of long-chain acylcarnitines increase during fasting, but this is unknown for muscle long-chain acylcarnitines. In the present study we investigated whether muscle long-chain acylcarnitines increase during fasting and we investigated their relationship with glucose/fat oxidation and insulin sensitivity in lean healthy humans. After 14 h and 62 h of fasting, glucose fluxes, substrate oxidation, and plasma and muscle acylcarnitines were measured before and during a hyperinsulinaemic–euglycaemic clamp. Hyperinsulinaemia decreased long-chain muscle acylcarnitines after 14 h of fasting, but not after 62 h of fasting. In both the basal state and during the clamp, glucose oxidation was lower and fatty acid oxidation was higher after 62 h compared with 14 h of fasting. Absolute changes in glucose and fatty acid oxidation in the basal compared with hyperinsulinaemic state were not different. Muscle long-chain acylcarnitines did not correlate with glucose oxidation, fatty acid oxidation or insulin-mediated peripheral glucose uptake. After 62 h of fasting, the suppression of muscle long-chain acylcarnitines by insulin was attenuated compared with 14 h of fasting. Muscle long-chain acylcarnitines do not unconditionally reflect fatty acid oxidation. The higher fatty acid oxidation during hyperinsulinaemia after 62 h compared with 14 h of fasting, although the absolute decrease in fatty acid oxidation was not different, suggests a different set point.

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