Clinical Science

Research article

Are the reductions in triacylglycerol and insulin levels after exercise related?

Jason M.R. GILL, Sara L. HERD, Natassa V. TSETSONIS, Adrianne E. HARDMAN


Moderate exercise improves insulin sensitivity and reduces triacylglycerol (triglyceride; TG) concentrations. We hypothesized that changes in insulin sensitivity are an important determinant of exercise-induced changes in postprandial TG concentrations. Altogether, 38 men and 43 women, all of whom were normotriglyceridaemic and normoglycaemic, each underwent two oral fat tolerance tests with different pre-conditions: control (no exercise) and prior exercise (90min of exercise at 60% of maximal O2 uptake the day before). Venous blood samples were obtained in the fasting state and for 6h after a high-fat mixed meal. In the control trial there were significant correlations between log fasting TG concentration and log fasting insulin concentration (r = 0.42, P < 0.0005) and between log postprandial TG response (area under the curve) and log postprandial insulin response (r = 0.48, P < 0.0005). Prior exercise reduced the fasting TG concentration by 18.2±2.2% (mean±S.E.M.) (P < 0.0005), the postprandial TG response by 21.5±1.9% (P < 0.0005), the fasting insulin concentration by 3.8±3.1% (P < 0.01) and the postprandial insulin response by 11.9±2.5% (P < 0.0005). However, there was no relationship between the exercise-induced changes in log fasting TG and log fasting insulin (r = 0.08, P = 0.50), nor between the exercise-induced changes in log postprandial TG response and log postprandial insulin response (r = 0.04, P = 0.70). These data suggest that the reductions in fasting and postprandial TG levels elicited by a session of moderate-intensity exercise are not mediated by an increase in insulin sensitivity.

  • insulin
  • insulin sensitivity
  • lipaemia
  • moderate exercise
  • postprandial
  • triacylglycerol
  • triglyceride.