Back to overview

The Effect of Aerobic Exercise on Intrahepatocellular and Intramyocellular Lipids in Healthy Subjects

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Publication date 2013
Author Egger Andrea, Kreis Roland, Allemann Sabin, Stettler Christoph D., Diem Peter, Buehler Tania, Boesch Chris, Christ Emanuel R.,
Project Multi-nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and imaging (MRI) on a clinical whole-body MR-system: insulin resistance, ageing, and physical activity
Show all

Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal PLoS ONE
Volume (Issue) 8(8)
Page(s) e70865
Title of proceedings PLoS ONE
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0070865

Open Access


Background:Intrahepatocellular (IHCL) and intramyocellular (IMCL) lipids are ectopic lipid stores. Aerobic exercise results in IMCL utilization in subjects over a broad range of exercise capacity. IMCL and IHCL have been related to impaired insulin action at the skeletal muscle and hepatic level, respectively. The acute effect of aerobic exercise on IHCL is unknown. Possible regulatory factors include exercise capacity, insulin sensitivity and fat availability subcutaneous and visceral fat mass).Aim:To concomitantly investigate the effect of aerobic exercise on IHCL and IMCL in healthy subjects, using Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy.Methods:Normal weight, healthy subjects were included. Visit 1 consisted of a determination of VO2max on a treadmill. Visit 2 comprised the assessment of hepatic and peripheral insulin sensitivity by a two-step hyperinsulinaemic euglycaemic clamp. At Visit 3, subcutaneous and visceral fat mass were assessed by whole body MRI, IHCL and IMCL before and after a 2-hours aerobic exercise (50% of VO2max) using 1H-MR-spectroscopy.Results:Eighteen volunteers (12M, 6F) were enrolled in the study (age, 37.6±3.2 years, mean±SEM; VO2max, 53.4±2.9 mL/kg/min). Two hours aerobic exercise resulted in a significant decrease in IMCL (-22.6±3.3, % from baseline) and increase in IHCL (+34.9±7.6, % from baseline). There was no significant correlation between the exercise-induced changes in IMCL and IHCL and exercise capacity, subcutaneous and visceral fat mass and hepatic or peripheral insulin sensitivity.Conclusions:IMCL and IHCL are flexible ectopic lipid stores that are acutely influenced by physical exercise, albeit in different directions. Trial Registration: NCT00491582. © 2013 Egger et al.