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Published online by Cambridge University Press: 22 May 2018
Dairy cows with type II ketosis display hepatic fat accumulation and hyperinsulinemia, but the underlying mechanism is not completely clear. This study aimed to clarify the regulation of lipid metabolism by insulin in cow hepatocytes. In vitro, cow hepatocytes were treated with 0, 1, 10, or 100 nm insulin in the presence or absence of AICAR (an AMP-activated protein kinase alpha (AMPKα) activator). The results showed that insulin decreased AMPKα phosphorylation. This inactivation of AMPKα increased the gene and protein expression levels of carbohydrate responsive element-binding protein (ChREBP) and sterol regulatory element-binding protein-1c (SREBP-1c), which downregulated the expression of lipogenic genes, thereby decreasing lipid biosynthesis. Furthermore, AMPKα inactivation decreased the gene and protein expression levels of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-α (PPARα), which upregulated the expression of lipid oxidation genes, thereby increasing lipid oxidation. In addition, insulin decreased the very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) assembly. Consequently, triglyceride content was significantly increased in insulin treated hepatocytes. Activation of AMPKα induced by AICAR could reverse the effect of insulin on PPARα, SREBP-1c, and ChREBP, thereby decreasing triglyceride content. These results indicate that insulin inhibits the AMPKα signaling pathway to increase lipid synthesis and decrease lipid oxidation and VLDL assembly in cow hepatocytes, thereby inducing TG accumulation. This mechanism could partly explain the causal relationship between hepatic fat accumulation and hyperinsulinemia in dairy cows with type II ketosis.