An aging global population combined with sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy diets has contributed to an increasing incidence of obesity and type 2 diabetes. These metabolic disorders are associated with perturbations to nitric oxide (NO) signaling and impaired glucose metabolism. Dietary inorganic nitrate, found in high concentration in green leafy vegetables, can be converted to NO in vivo and demonstrates antidiabetic and antiobesity properties in rodents. Alongside tissues including skeletal muscle and liver, white adipose tissue is also an important physiological site of glucose disposal. However, the distinct molecular mechanisms governing the effect of nitrate on adipose tissue glucose metabolism and the contribution of this tissue to the glucose-tolerant phenotype remain to be determined. Using a metabolomic and stable-isotope labeling approach, combined with transcriptional analysis, we found that nitrate increases glucose uptake and oxidative catabolism in primary adipocytes and white adipose tissue of nitrate-treated rats. Mechanistically, we determined that nitrate induces these phenotypic changes in primary adipocytes through the xanthine oxidoreductase–catalyzed reduction of nitrate to NO and independently of peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor-α. The nitrate-mediated enhancement of glucose uptake and catabolism in white adipose tissue may be a key contributor to the antidiabetic effects of this anion.
- Received September 5, 2019.
- Accepted February 7, 2020.
- © 2020 by the American Diabetes Association