Fatty Acid Composition in Skeletal Muscle : Influence of Physical Activity and Dietary Fat Quality

Sammanfattning: Insulin sensitivity is related to the fatty acid profile of skeletal muscle. The aim of this thesis was to investigate whether physical activity and dietary fat quality, independent of each other, influence the fatty acid composition of the skeletal muscle lipids. In an intervention study where middle-aged men were exercising for six weeks, and in a cross-sectional study comparing sedentary with endurance trained young men, it was demonstrated that the fatty acid composition of skeletal muscle lipids differed between physical active and inactive men. In brief, a lower proportion of palmitic acid (16:0) and total n-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and a higher proportion of stearic (18:0) and oleic acid (18:1n-9) and total n-3 PUFA in the muscle phospholipids were associated with physical activity, despite similar fatty acid composition of the diet. In the second study, that included a larger training volume, differences in the fatty acid profile were also found in the skeletal muscle triglycerides. In contrast, after short-term supra-maximal exercise we found no significant changes in the proportion of the fatty acids in skeletal muscle. Furthermore, after a treatment period of three months, with diets with various dietary fat quality, the proportions of saturated fatty acids (14:0, 15:0 and 17:0) were higher and the proportion of 18:1 n-9 lower in subjects with a high intake of saturated fatty acids compared with subjects with a high intake of monounsaturated fatty acids. In addition subjects given n-3 supplementation had a higher proportion of total n-3 PUFA and lower n-6 PUFA in the skeletal muscle phospholipids than controls. Differences similar to those observed in the phospholipids were found in the triglycerides. In summary, these results suggest that regular aerobic physical activity and dietary fat quality influence the fatty acid composition of the skeletal muscle lipids, which may affect insulin sensitivity and glucose homeostasis.