DOI: 10.3390/nu16040500 ISSN: 2072-6643

Effect of Short-Chain Fatty Acids on Inflammatory and Metabolic Function in an Obese Skeletal Muscle Cell Culture Model

Kelsey Van, Jessie L. Burns, Jennifer M. Monk
  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

The fermentation of non-digestible carbohydrates produces short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which have been shown to impact both skeletal muscle metabolic and inflammatory function; however, their effects within the obese skeletal muscle microenvironment are unknown. In this study, we developed a skeletal muscle in vitro model to mimic the critical features of the obese skeletal muscle microenvironment using L6 myotubes co-treated with 10 ng/mL lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and 500 µM palmitic acid (PA) for 24 h ± individual SCFAs, namely acetate, propionate and butyrate at 0.5 mM and 2.5 mM. At the lower SCFA concentration (0.5 mM), all three SCFA reduced the secreted protein level of RANTES, and only butyrate reduced IL-6 protein secretion and the intracellular protein levels of activated (i.e., ratio of phosphorylated–total) NFκB p65 and STAT3 (p < 0.05). Conversely, at the higher SCFA concentration (2.5 mM), individual SCFAs exerted different effects on inflammatory mediator secretion. Specifically, butyrate reduced IL-6, MCP-1 and RANTES secretion, propionate reduced IL-6 and RANTES, and acetate only reduced RANTES secretion (p < 0.05). All three SCFAs reduced intracellular protein levels of activated NFκB p65 and STAT3 (p < 0.05). Importantly, only the 2.5 mM SCFA concentration resulted in all three SCFAs increasing insulin-stimulated glucose uptake compared to control L6 myotube cultures (p < 0.05). Therefore, SCFAs exert differential effects on inflammatory mediator secretion in a cell culture model, recapitulating the obese skeletal muscle microenvironment; however, all three SCFAs exerted a beneficial metabolic effect only at a higher concentration via increasing insulin-stimulated glucose uptake, collectively exerting differing degrees of a beneficial effect on obesity-associated skeletal muscle dysfunction.

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