Inhibition of lipolysis does not affect insulin sensitivity to glucose uptake in the mourning dove

Karen Sweazea, John P. McMurtry, Eldon J. Braun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Birds have much higher plasma glucose and fatty acid levels compared to mammals. In addition, they are resistant to insulin-induced decreases in blood glucose. Recent studies have demonstrated that decreasing fatty acid utilization alleviates insulin resistance in mammals, thereby decreasing plasma glucose levels. This has yet to be examined in birds. In the present study, the levels of glucose and β-hydroxybutyrate (BOHB), a major ketone body and indicator of fatty acid utilization, were measured after the administration of chicken insulin, acipimox (an anti-lipolytic agent), or insulin and acipimox in mourning doves (Zenaidura macroura). Insulin significantly decreased whole blood glucose levels (19%), but had no effect on BOHB concentrations. In contrast, acipimox decreased blood BOHB levels by 41%, but had no effect on whole blood glucose. In addition to changes in blood composition, levels of glucose uptake by various tissues were measured after the individual and combined administration of insulin and acipimox. Under basal conditions, the uptake of glucose appeared to be greatest in the kidney followed by the brain and skeletal muscle with negligible uptake by heart, liver and adipose tissues. Acipimox significantly decreased glucose uptake by brain (58% in cortex and 55% in cerebellum). No significant effect of acipimox was observed in other tissues. In summary, the acute inhibition of lipolysis had no effect on glucose uptake in the presence or absence of insulin. This suggests that free fatty acids alone may not be contributing to insulin resistance in birds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-394
Number of pages8
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - B Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2006


  • Dove
  • Fatty acid
  • Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Lipolysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology


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