The insulin effect on cerebrocortical theta activity is associated with serum concentrations of saturated nonesterified fatty acids

Otto Tschritter, Hubert Preissl, Anita M. Hennige, Tina Sartorius, Yuko Grichisch, Norbert Stefan, Martina Guthoff, Stephan Düsing, Jürgen Machann, Erwin Schleicher, Alexander Cegan, Niels Birbaumer, Andreas Fritsche, Hans Ulrich Häring

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Context: Insulin action in the brain contributes to adequate regulation of body weight, neuronal survival, and suppression of endogenous glucose production. We previously demonstrated by magnetoencephalography in lean humans that insulin stimulates activity in beta and theta frequency bands, whereas this effect was abolished in obese individuals. Objective: The present study aims to define metabolic signals associated with the suppression of the cerebrocortical response in obese humans. Design and Setting: We determined insulin-mediated modulation of spontaneous cerebrocortical activity by magnetoencephalography during a hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamp and related it to measures of ectopic fat deposition and mediators of peripheral insulin resistance. Visceral fat mass and intrahepatic lipid content were quantified by magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy. Multiple regression analysis was used to analyze associations of cerebrocortical insulin sensitivity and metabolic markers related to obesity. Participants: Forty-nine healthy, nondiabetic humans participated in the study. Results: In a multiple regression, insulin-mediated stimulation of theta activity was negatively correlated to body mass index, visceral fat mass, and intrahepatic lipid content. Although fasting saturated nonesterified fatty acids mediated the correlations of theta activity with abdominal and intrahepatic lipid stores, adipocytokines displayed no independent correlation with insulin-mediated cortical activity in the theta frequency band. Conclusions: Thus, insulin action at the level of cerebrocortical activity in the brain is diminished in the presence of elevated levels of saturated nonesterified fatty acids.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4600-4607
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Biochemistry, medical
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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