Insulin-resistant states are associated with accumulation of muscle lipid, suggesting an imbalance between lipid uptake and oxidation. We have employed a new fatty-acid tracer [9,10-3H]-(R)-2-bromopalmitate (3H-R-BrP) to study individual-tissue nonesterified fatty acid (NEFA) uptake in states with diminished or enhanced lipid oxidation. 3H-R-BrP was administered to conscious male Wistar rats (approximately 300 g) during fasting (5, 18, or 36 h), acute blockade of beta-oxidation (etomoxir, 15 micromol/kg), and insulin infusion (0.25 U x kg(-1) x h(-1)). Estimates of NEFA clearance rates (K(f)*) and absolute rates of uptake (R(f)*) were calculated from tissue accumulation of 3H-R-BrP products. In the basal state, NEFA uptake was dependent on the oxidative capacity of tissues: R(f)* in brown adipose tissue (BAT) > heart (HRT) > diaphragm (DPHM) > red quadriceps (RQ) > white quadriceps (WQ) > white adipose tissue (WAT). Fasting increased (P < 0.001) K(f)* in WAT but did not change NEFA clearance in other tissues. However, plasma NEFA levels were raised (P < 0.01), tending to elevate R(f)* in most tissues (P < 0.05: WAT, BAT, WQ, DPHM). Etomoxir reduced (P < 0.01) K(f)* only in oxidative tissues (BAT, RQ, DPHM, HRT). Insulin lowered plasma NEFA levels (P < 0.001) and significantly decreased R(f)* in most tissues (P < 0.05: WAT, RQ, DPHM, HRT). An increased (P < 0.05) clearance was observed in WAT, BAT, and WQ; a decrease (P < 0.01) in K(f)* was observed in HRT. This study is the first to measure tissue-specific NEFA uptake in conscious rats in the postabsorptive, fasted, and insulin-stimulated states. We have demonstrated that tissue NEFA utilization is not exclusively determined by systemic availability, but that the early steps of NEFA uptake or metabolic sequestration can also be rapidly modulated by local processes such as NEFA oxidation.

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