Low birth weight (LBW) individuals have an increased risk of developing insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes compared with normal birth weight (NBW) individuals. We hypothesised that LBW individuals exhibit an increased fatty acid flux into lipogenesis in non-adipose tissue with a resulting accumulation of lipotoxic lipids, including ceramides, in the blood. Therefore, we measured fasting plasma levels of 27 ceramides in 18 young, healthy, LBW men and 25 NBW controls after an isocaloric control diet and a 5-day high-fat, high-calorie diet by HPLC-HRMS. LBW men did not show elevated plasma ceramide levels after the control or high-fat, high-calorie diet. An increased fatty acid oxidation rate in these individuals during both diets may limit ceramide synthesis and thereby compensate for a likely increased fatty acid load to non-adipose tissue. Interestingly, LBW and NBW men decreased d18:0–18:1/d18:1–18:0 and d18:1–24:2/d18:2–24:1 levels and increased the d18:0–24:1a level in response to overfeeding. Plasma d18:0–24:1a and total ceramide levels were positively associated with the fasting blood glucose level and endogenous glucose production after the control diet, and the total ceramide level was in addition positively associated with hepatic insulin resistance. Further studies are needed to determine if lipotoxicity contributes to insulin resistance in LBW individuals.
Ribel-Madsen, A., Ribel-Madsen, R., Nielsen, K. F., Pedersen, S. B., A. Vaag, A., & Brøns, C. (2018). Plasma ceramide levels are altered in low and normal birth weight men in response to short-term high-fat overfeeding. Scientific Reports, 8, [3452 ]. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-21419-5