Insulin resistance plays a primary role in the development of type 2 diabetes and may be related to alterations in fat metabolism. Recent studies have suggested that local accumulation of fat metabolites inside skeletal muscle may activate a serine kinase cascade involving protein kinase C–θ (PKC-θ), leading to defects in insulin signaling and glucose transport in skeletal muscle. To test this hypothesis, we examined whether mice with inactivation of PKC-θ are protected from fat-induced insulin resistance in skeletal muscle. Skeletal muscle and hepatic insulin action as assessed during hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamps did not differ between WT and PKC-θ KO mice following saline infusion. A 5-hour lipid infusion decreased insulin-stimulated skeletal muscle glucose uptake in the WT mice that was associated with 40–50% decreases in insulin-stimulated tyrosine phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate–1 (IRS-1) and IRS-1–associated PI3K activity. In contrast, PKC-θ inactivation prevented fat-induced defects in insulin signaling and glucose transport in skeletal muscle. In conclusion, our findings demonstrate that PKC-θ is a crucial component mediating fat-induced insulin resistance in skeletal muscle and suggest that PKC-θ is a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
Insulin resistance in skeletal muscle is manifested by decreased insulin-stimulated glucose uptake and results from impaired insulin signaling and multiple post-receptor intracellular defects including impaired glucose transport, glucose phosphorylation, and reduced glucose oxidation and glycogen synthesis. Insulin resistance is a core defect in type 2 diabetes, it is also associated with obesity and the metabolic syndrome. Dysregulation of fatty acid metabolism plays a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance in skeletal muscle. Recent studies have reported a mitochondrial defect in oxidative phosphorylation in skeletal muscle in variety of insulin resistant states. In this review, we summarize the cellular and molecular defects that contribute to the development of insulin resistance in skeletal muscle.
Insulin resistance plays a major role in the pathogenesis of the metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes, and yet the mechanisms responsible for it remain poorly understood. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy studies in humans suggest that a defect in insulin-stimulated glucose transport in skeletal muscle is the primary metabolic abnormality in insulin-resistant patients with type 2 diabetes. Fatty acids appear to cause this defect in glucose transport by inhibiting insulin-stimulated tyrosine phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1) and IRS-1–associated phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase activity. A number of different metabolic abnormalities may increase intramyocellular and intrahepatic fatty acid metabolites; these include increased fat delivery to muscle and liver as a consequence of either excess energy intake or defects in adipocyte fat metabolism, and acquired or inherited defects in mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation. Understanding the molecular and biochemical defects responsible for insulin resistance is beginning to unveil novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of the metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
Insulin resistance is a major factor in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes and is strongly associated with obesity. Increased concentrations of intracellular fatty acid metabolites have been postulated to interfere with insulin signaling by activation of a serine kinase cascade involving PKCθ in skeletal muscle. Uncoupling protein 3 (UCP3) has been postulated to dissipate the mitochondrial proton gradient and cause metabolic inefficiency. We therefore hypothesized that overexpression of UCP3 in skeletal muscle might protect against fat-induced insulin resistance in muscle by conversion of intramyocellular fat into thermal energy. Wild-type mice fed a high-fat diet were markedly insulin resistant, a result of defects in insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in skeletal muscle and hepatic insulin resistance. Insulin resistance in these tissues was associated with reduced insulin-stimulated insulin receptor substrate 1– (IRS-1–) and IRS-2–associated PI3K activity in muscle and liver, respectively. In contrast, UCP3-overexpressing mice were completely protected against fat-induced defects in insulin signaling and action in these tissues. Furthermore, these changes were associated with a lower membrane-to-cytosolic ratio of diacylglycerol and reduced PKCθ activity in whole-body fat–matched UCP3 transgenic mice. These results suggest that increasing mitochondrial uncoupling in skeletal muscle may be an excellent therapeutic target for type 2 diabetes mellitus.
Obesity is associated with chronic low-grade inflammation and oxidative stress that blunt insulin response in its target tissues, leading to insulin resistance (IR). IR is a characteristic feature of type 2 diabetes. Skeletal muscle is responsible for 75% of total insulin-dependent glucose uptake; consequently, skeletal muscle IR is considered to be the primary defect of systemic IR development. Interestingly, some obese people stay insulin-sensitive and metabolically healthy. With the aim of understanding this difference and identifying the mechanisms responsible for insulin sensitivity maintenance/IR development during obesity, we explored the role of the latent endoribonuclease (RNase L) in skeletal muscle cells. RNase L is a regulator of innate immunity, of double-stranded RNA sensors and of toll-like receptor (TLR) 4 signaling. It is regulated during inflammation by interferons and its activity is dependent on its binding to 2-5A, an oligoadenylate synthesized by oligoadenylate synthetases (OAS). Increased expression of RNase L or downregulation of its inhibitor (RLI) improved insulin response in mouse myogenic C2C12 cells and in primary human myotubes from normal-weight subjects treated with palmitate, a saturated free fatty acid (FFA) known to induce inflammation and oxidative stress via TLR4 activation. While RNase L and RLI levels remained unchanged, OAS level was decreased in primary myotubes from insulin-resistant obese subjects (OB-IR) compared with myotubes from insulin-sensitive obese subjects (OB-IS). TLR3 and mitochondrial manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) were also underexpressed in OB-IR myotubes. Activation of RNase L by 2-5A transfection allowed to restore insulin response, OAS, MnSOD and TLR3 expression in OB-IR myotubes. Due to low expression of OAS, OB-IR myotubes present a defect in RNase L activation and TLR3 regulation. Consequently, MnSOD level is low and insulin sensitivity is reduced. These results support that RNase L activity limits FFA/obesity-induced impairment of insulin response in muscle cells via TLR3 and MnSOD expression.
obesity; insulin response; latent endoribonuclease; inflammation; manganese superoxide dismutase; toll-like receptor 3
Mitochondrial dysfunction is associated with insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. It has thus been suggested that primary and/or genetic abnormalities in mitochondrial function may lead to accumulation of toxic lipid species in muscle and elsewhere, impairing insulin action on glucose metabolism. Alternatively, however, defects in insulin signaling may be primary events that result in mitochondrial dysfunction, or there may be a bidirectional relationship between these phenomena. To investigate this, we examined mitochondrial function in patients with genetic defects in insulin receptor (INSR) signaling. We found that phosphocreatine recovery after exercise, a measure of skeletal muscle mitochondrial function in vivo, was significantly slowed in patients with INSR mutations compared with that in healthy age-, fitness-, and BMI-matched controls. These findings suggest that defective insulin signaling may promote mitochondrial dysfunction. Furthermore, consistent with previous studies of mouse models of mitochondrial dysfunction, basal and sleeping metabolic rates were both significantly increased in genetically insulin-resistant patients, perhaps because mitochondrial dysfunction necessitates increased nutrient oxidation in order to maintain cellular energy levels.
Recent evidence indicates that insulin resistance in skeletal muscle may be related to reduce mitochondrial number and oxidation capacity. However, it is not known whether increasing mitochondrial number and function improves insulin resistance. In the present study, we investigated the effects of a combination of nutrients on insulin resistance and mitochondrial biogenesis/function in skeletal muscle of type 2 diabetic Goto–Kakizaki rats.
We demonstrated that defect of glucose and lipid metabolism is associated with low mitochondrial content and reduced mitochondrial enzyme activity in skeletal muscle of the diabetic Goto-Kakizaki rats. The treatment of combination of R-α-lipoic acid, acetyl-L-carnitine, nicotinamide, and biotin effectively improved glucose tolerance, decreased the basal insulin secretion and the level of circulating free fatty acid (FFA), and prevented the reduction of mitochondrial biogenesis in skeletal muscle. The nutrients treatment also significantly increased mRNA levels of genes involved in lipid metabolism, including peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor-α (Pparα), peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor-δ (Pparδ), and carnitine palmitoyl transferase-1 (Mcpt-1) and activity of mitochondrial complex I and II in skeletal muscle. All of these effects of mitochondrial nutrients are comparable to that of the antidiabetic drug, pioglitazone. In addition, the treatment with nutrients, unlike pioglitazone, did not cause body weight gain.
These data suggest that a combination of mitochondrial targeting nutrients may improve skeletal mitochondrial dysfunction and exert hypoglycemic effects, without causing weight gain.
Lipid accumulation in skeletal muscle and the liver is strongly implicated in the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, but the mechanisms underpinning fat accrual in these sites remain incompletely understood. Accumulating evidence of muscle mitochondrial dysfunction in insulin-resistant states has fuelled the notion that primary defects in mitochondrial fat oxidation may be a contributory mechanism. The purpose of our study was to determine whether patients with congenital lipodystrophy, a disorder primarily affecting white adipose tissue, manifest impaired mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation in skeletal muscle.
Research Design and Methods:
Mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation was assessed in quadriceps muscle using 31P-magnetic resonance spectroscopy measurements of phosphocreatine recovery kinetics after a standardized exercise bout in nondiabetic patients with congenital lipodystrophy and in age-, gender-, body mass index-, and fitness-matched controls.
The phosphocreatine recovery rate constant (k) was significantly lower in patients with congenital lipodystrophy than in healthy controls (P < 0.001). This substantial (∼35%) defect in mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation was not associated with significant changes in basal or sleeping metabolic rates.
Muscle mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation is impaired in patients with congenital lipodystrophy, a paradigmatic example of primary adipose tissue dysfunction. This finding suggests that changes in mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation in skeletal muscle could, at least in some circumstances, be a secondary consequence of adipose tissue failure. These data corroborate accumulating evidence that mitochondrial dysfunction can be a consequence of insulin-resistant states rather than a primary defect. Nevertheless, impaired mitochondrial fat oxidation is likely to accelerate ectopic fat accumulation and worsen insulin resistance.
With the increasing prevalence of obesity, research has focused on the molecular mechanism(s) linking obesity and skeletal muscle insulin resistance. Metabolic alterations within muscle, such as changes in the cellular location of fatty acid transporter proteins, decreased mitochondrial enzyme activity and defects in mitochondrial morphology, likely contribute to obesity and insulin resistance. These defects are thought to play a role in the reduced skeletal muscle fatty acid oxidation (FAO) and increased intramuscular lipid (IMCL) accumulation that is apparent with obesity and other insulin resistant states, such as type 2 diabetes. Intramuscular triacylglycerol (IMTG) does not appear to be a ubiquitous marker of insulin resistance, although specific IMCL intermediates such as long-chain fatty acyl-CoAs (LCFA-CoAs), ceramide and diacylglycerol (DAG) may inhibit insulin signal transduction. In this review, we will briefly summarize the defects in skeletal muscle lipid metabolism associated with obesity, and discuss proposed mechanisms by which these defects may contribute to insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance is associated with impaired skeletal muscle oxidation capacity and reduced mitochondrial number and function. Here, we report that adiponectin signaling regulates mitochondrial bioenergetics in skeletal muscle. Individuals with a family history of type 2 diabetes display skeletal muscle insulin resistance and mitochondrial dysfunction; adiponectin levels strongly correlate with mtDNA content. Knockout of the adiponectin gene in mice is associated with insulin resistance and low mitochondrial content and reduced mitochondrial enzyme activity in skeletal muscle. Adiponectin treatment of human myotubes in primary culture induces mitochondrial biogenesis, palmitate oxidation, and citrate synthase activity, and reduces the production of reactive oxygen species. The inhibition of adiponectin receptor expression by siRNA, or of AMPK by a pharmacological agent, blunts adiponectin induction of mitochondrial function. Our findings define a skeletal muscle pathway by which adiponectin increases mitochondrial number and function and exerts antidiabetic effects.
The broad nature of insulin resistant glucose metabolism in skeletal muscle of patients with type 2 diabetes suggests a defect in the proximal part of the insulin signaling network. We sought to identify the pathways compromised in insulin resistance and to test the effect of moderate exercise on whole-body and cellular insulin action. We conducted euglycemic clamps and muscle biopsies on type 2 diabetic patients, obese nondiabetics and lean controls, with and without a single bout of exercise. Insulin stimulation of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI 3-kinase) pathway, as measured by phosphorylation of the insulin receptor and IRS-1 and by IRS protein association with p85 and with PI 3-kinase, was dramatically reduced in obese nondiabetics and virtually absent in type 2 diabetic patients. Insulin stimulation of the MAP kinase pathway was normal in obese and diabetic subjects. Insulin stimulation of glucose-disposal correlated with association of p85 with IRS-1. Exercise 24 hours before the euglycemic clamp increased phosphorylation of insulin receptor and IRS-1 in obese and diabetic subjects but did not increase glucose uptake or PI 3-kinase association with IRS-1 upon insulin stimulation. Thus, insulin resistance differentially affects the PI 3-kinase and MAP kinase signaling pathways, and insulin-stimulated IRS-1–association with PI 3-kinase defines a key step in insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance is a predictor of the development of noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) in humans. It is unclear whether insulin resistance is a primary defect leading to NIDDM or the result of hyperinsulinemia and hyperglycemia. To determine if insulin resistance is the result of extrinsic factors such as hyperinsulinemia primary skeletal muscle cell cultures were established from muscle biopsies from Pima Indians with differing in vivo insulin sensitivities. These cell cultures expressed a variety of muscle-specific phenotypes including the proteins alpha-actinin and myosin, muscle-specific creatine kinase activity, and RNA encoding GLUT4, MYF5, MYOD1, and MYOGENIN. Labeled glucose was used to measure the insulin-stimulated conversion of glucose to glycogen in these cultures. The in vivo rates of insulin-stimulated glycogen production (insulin resistance) were correlated with in vitro measures of glycogen production (P = 0.007, r = 0.58). This defect in insulin action is stable in a uniform culture environment and is retained over time. The retention of insulin resistance in myoblast derived cell cultures is consistent with the expression of an underlying biochemical defect in insulin resistant skeletal muscle.
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a complex hormonal disorder affecting the reproductive and metabolic systems with signs and symptoms related to anovulation, infertility, menstrual irregularity and hirsutism.
Skeletal muscle plays a vital role in the peripheral glucose uptake. Since PCOS is associated with defects in the activation and pancreatic dysfunction of β-cell insulin, it is important to understand the molecular mechanisms of insulin resistance in PCOS. Studies of muscle tissue in patients with PCOS reveal defects in insulin signaling. Muscle biopsies performed during euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp showed a significant reduction in glucose uptake, and insulin-mediated IRS-2 increased significantly in skeletal muscle. It is recognized that the etiology of insulin resistance in PCOS is likely to be as complicated as in type 2 diabetes and it has an important role in metabolic and reproductive phenotypes of this syndrome. Thus, further evidence regarding the effect of nonpharmacological approaches (e.g., physical exercise) in skeletal muscle of women with PCOS is required for a better therapeutic approach in the management of various metabolic and reproductive problems caused by this syndrome.
Insulin resistance has long been associated with obesity. More than 40 years ago, Randle and colleagues postulated that lipids impaired insulin-stimulated glucose use by muscles through inhibition of glycolysis at key points. However, work over the past two decades has shown that lipid-induced insulin resistance in skeletal muscle stems from defects in insulin-stimulated glucose transport activity. The steatotic liver is also resistant to insulin in terms of inhibition of hepatic glucose production and stimulation of glycogen synthesis. In muscle and liver, the intracellular accumulation of lipids—namely, diacylglycerol—triggers activation of novel protein kinases C with subsequent impairments in insulin signalling. This unifying hypothesis accounts for the mechanism of insulin resistance in obesity, type 2 diabetes, lipodystrophy, and ageing; and the insulin-sensitising effects of thiazolidinediones.
It is increasingly being realized that failure of pancreatic beta cells to secrete enough insulin to adequately compensate for obesity and insulin resistance is the primary defects of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Pancreatic beta cells possess a highly developed and active endoplasmic reticulum (ER), reflecting their role in folding, export and processing of newly synthesized insulin. ER stress-induced pancreatic beta-cell failure is a novel event in the pathogenesis of T2DM. Some studies with antioxidants indicated a beneficial impact on ER stress. Our previous study found that strong antioxidants, grape seed proanthocyanidins (GSPs), ameliorated ER stress to protect skeletal muscle from cell death in type 2 diabetic rats. The present study continued to investigate the effect of GSPs on beta-cell failure and ER stress in diabetic pancreas.
Male Sprague–Dawley rats made type 2 diabetic with 2 injections of 25 mg/kg streptozotocin and 8 weeks of the high-carbohydrate/high-fat diet were fed a basal diet with or without GSPs administration for 16 weeks. Oral glucose tolerance, plasma glucose, serum insulin and the score of beta-cell function were measured. Morphological observation was performed by light and electron microscopic analyses. Islet cell apoptosis was determined by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP biotin nick end labeling staining. Additionally, the level of insulin and the expression of ER stress markers in pancreatic islets were also studied using immunohistochemical staining.
After 16 weeks treatment, the score of beta-cell function and the abnormal oral glucose tolerance of diabetic rats were partially reversed by GSPs treatment. The efficacious effect of GSPs was also manifested in the amelioration of pancreatic damage and ER dilatation by microscopic analyses. Moreover, GSPs treatment increased normal insulin content and decreased the number of apoptotic cells in diabetic islets. Importantly, GSPs treatment partially alleviated ER stress by decreasing some ER stress markers.
These findings suggest that GSPs might have auxiliary therapeutic potential for pancreatic beta-cell dysfunction and death in T2DM.
Grape seed proanthocyanidins; Pancreatic beta-cell failure; Endoplasmic reticulum stress; Insulin; High-carbohydrate/high-fat diet; Streptozotocin; Type 2 diabetes mellitus
Insulin regulates glucose homeostasis by binding and activating the insulin receptor, and defects in insulin responses (insulin resistance) induce type 2 diabetes. SH2-B, an Src homology 2 (SH2) and pleckstrin homology domain-containing adaptor protein, binds via its SH2 domain to insulin receptor in response to insulin; however, its physiological role remains unclear. Here we show that SH2-B was expressed in the liver, skeletal muscle, and fat. Systemic deletion of SH2-B impaired insulin receptor activation and signaling in the liver, skeletal muscle, and fat, including tyrosine phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS1) and IRS2 and activation of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt and the Erk1/2 pathways. Consequently, SH2-B−/− knockout mice developed age-dependent hyperinsulinemia, hyperglycemia, and glucose intolerance. Moreover, SH2-B directly enhanced autophosphorylation of insulin receptor and tyrosine phosphorylation of IRS1 and IRS2 in an SH2 domain-dependent manner in cultured cells. Our data suggest that SH2-B is a physiological enhancer of insulin receptor activation and is required for maintaining normal insulin sensitivity and glucose homeostasis during aging.
Type 2 diabetes mellitus is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide, and the prevalence is set to increase dramatically over the coming decades. Understanding the metabolic pathways that lead to type 2 diabetes is therefore an important healthcare objective. Novel investigational techniques based on magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) have allowed real-time insight into the molecular defects in patients with type 2 diabetes, revealing that insulin resistance is a product of decreased insulin-stimulated skeletal muscle glycogen synthesis, which can mostly be attributed to decreased insulin-stimulated glucose transport (Glut 4) activity. This defect appears to be a result of intracellular lipid-induced inhibition of insulin-stimulated insulin-receptor substrate (IRS)–1 tyrosine phosphorylation resulting in reduced IRS-1–associated phosphatidyl inositol 3 kinase activity. The hypothesis that insulin resistance is a result of accumulation of intracellular lipid metabolites (e.g., fatty acyl CoAs, diacylglycerol) in skeletal muscle and hepatocytes is supported by observations in patients and mouse models of lipodystrophy. Furthermore, the increase in hepatic insulin sensitivity observed in patients with type 2 diabetes following weight loss is also accompanied by a significant reduction in intrahepatic fat without any changes in circulating adipocytokines (interleukin-6, resistin, leptin). Finally, recent MRS studies in healthy, lean, elderly subjects and lean insulin-resistant offspring of parents with type 2 diabetes have demonstrated that reduced mitochondrial activity may also lead to increased intramyocellular lipid content and insulin resistance in skeletal muscle in these individuals. In summary, in vivo MRS has proved to be an important tool for elucidating the causal chain of events that causes insulin resistance. Understanding the cellular mechanism(s) of insulin resistance in turn offers the prospect of better targeted and more effective therapeutic interventions for treatment and prevention of type 2 diabetes.
Fat; Insulin resistance; Insulin sensitivity; The metabolic syndrome; Obesity; Type 2 diabetes mellitus
Insulin resistance in non-insulin-dependent diabetes is associated with a defective insulin activation of the enzyme glycogen synthase in skeletal muscles. To investigate whether this may be a primary defect, we studied 20 young (25 +/- 1 yr) Caucasian first-degree relatives (children) of patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes, and 20 matched controls without a family history of diabetes. Relatives and controls had a normal oral glucose tolerance, and were studied by means of the euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp technique, which included performance of indirect calorimetry and muscle biopsies. Insulin-stimulated glucose disposal was decreased in the relatives (9.2 +/- 0.6 vs 11.5 +/- 0.5 mg/kg fat-free mass per (FFM) min, P less than 0.02), and was due to a decreased rate of insulin-stimulated nonoxidative glucose metabolism (5.0 +/- 0.5 vs 7.5 +/- 0.4 mg/kg fat-free mass per min, P less than 0.001). The insulin-stimulated, fractional glycogen synthase activity (0.1/10 mmol liter glucose-6-phosphate) was decreased in the relatives (46.9 +/- 2.3 vs 56.4 +/- 3.2%, P less than 0.01), and there was a significant correlation between insulin-stimulated, fractional glycogen synthase activity and nonoxidative glucose metabolism in relatives (r = 0.76, P less than 0.001) and controls (r = 0.63, P less than 0.01). Furthermore, the insulin-stimulated increase in muscle glycogen content over basal values was lower in the relatives (13 +/- 25 vs 46 +/- 9 mmol/kg dry wt, P = 0.05). We conclude that the defect in insulin activation of muscle glycogen synthase may be a primary, possibly genetically determined, defect that contributes to the development of non-insulin-dependent diabetes.
Skeletal muscle insulin resistance is a key component of the etiology of type 2 diabetes. Caloric restriction (CR) enhances the sensitivity of skeletal muscle to insulin. However, the molecular signals within skeletal muscle linking CR to improved insulin action remain largely unknown. Recently, the mammalian ortholog of Sir2, sirtuin 1 (Sirt1), has been identified as a potential transducer of perturbations in cellular energy flux into subsequent metabolic adaptations, including modulation of skeletal muscle insulin action. Here, we have demonstrated that CR increases Sirt1 deacetylase activity in skeletal muscle in mice, in parallel with enhanced insulin-stimulated phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling and glucose uptake. These adaptations in skeletal muscle insulin action were completely abrogated in mice lacking Sirt1 deacetylase activity. Mechanistically, Sirt1 was found to be required for the deacetylation and inactivation of the transcription factor Stat3 during CR, which resulted in decreased gene and protein expression of the p55α/p50α subunits of PI3K, thereby promoting more efficient PI3K signaling during insulin stimulation. Thus, these data demonstrate that Sirt1 is an integral signaling node in skeletal muscle linking CR to improved insulin action, primarily via modulation of PI3K signaling.
OBJECTIVE—Insulin resistance in skeletal muscle plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes, yet the cellular mechanisms responsible for insulin resistance are poorly understood. In this study, we examine the role of serine phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate (IRS)-1 in mediating fat-induced insulin resistance in skeletal muscle in vivo.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—To directly assess the role of serine phosphorylation in mediating fat-induced insulin resistance in skeletal muscle, we generated muscle-specific IRS-1 Ser302, Ser307, and Ser612 mutated to alanine (Tg IRS-1 Ser→Ala) and IRS-1 wild-type (Tg IRS-1 WT) transgenic mice and examined insulin signaling and insulin action in skeletal muscle in vivo.
RESULTS—Tg IRS-1 Ser→Ala mice were protected from fat-induced insulin resistance, as reflected by lower plasma glucose concentrations during a glucose tolerance test and increased insulin-stimulated muscle glucose uptake during a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp. In contrast, Tg IRS-1 WT mice exhibited no improvement in glucose tolerance after high-fat feeding. Furthermore, Tg IRS-1 Ser→Ala mice displayed a significant increase in insulin-stimulated IRS-1–associated phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase activity and Akt phosphorylation in skeletal muscle in vivo compared with WT control littermates.
CONCLUSIONS—These data demonstrate that serine phosphorylation of IRS-1 plays an important role in mediating fat-induced insulin resistance in skeletal muscle in vivo.
Insulin resistance (IR), an impaired cellular, tissue and whole body response to insulin, is a major pathophysiological defect of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Although IR is closely associated with obesity, the identity of the molecular defect(s) underlying obesity-induced IR in skeletal muscle remains controversial; reduced post-receptor signalling of the insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS1) adaptor protein and downstream effectors such as protein kinase B (PKB) have previously been implicated. We examined expression and/or activation of a number of components of the insulin-signalling cascade in skeletal muscle of 22 healthy young men (with body mass index (BMI) range, 20–37 kg/m2). Whole body insulin sensitivity (M value) and body composition was determined by the hyperinsulinaemic (40 mU. min−1.m−2.), euglycaemic clamp and by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) respectively. Skeletal muscle (vastus lateralis) biopsies were taken before and after one hour of hyperinsulinaemia and the muscle insulin signalling proteins examined by western blot and immunoprecipitation assay. There was a strong inverse relationship between M-value and BMI. The most striking abnormality was significantly reduced insulin-induced activation of p42/44 MAP kinase, measured by specific assay, in the volunteers with poor insulin sensitivity. However, there was no relationship between individuals' BMI or M-value and protein expression/phosphorylation of IRS1, PKB, or p42/44 MAP kinase protein, under basal or hyperinsulinaemic conditions. In the few individuals with poor insulin sensitivity but preserved p42/44 MAP kinase activation, other signalling defects were evident. These findings implicate defective p42/44 MAP kinase signalling as a potential contributor to obesity-related IR in a non-diabetic population, although clearly multiple signalling defects underlie obesity associated IR.
Insulin resistance, which may precede the development of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus in Pima Indians, appears to result from a postreceptor defect in signal transduction in skeletal muscle. To identify the putative postreceptor lesion responsible for insulin resistance in Pima Indians, we investigated the influence of insulin on the activity of casein kinase II (CKII) in skeletal muscle of seven insulin-sensitive, four insulin-resistant, nondiabetic, and five insulin-resistant diabetic Pima Indians during a 2 h hyperinsulinemic, euglycemic clamp. In sensitive subjects, CKII was transiently activated reaching a maximum over basal activity (42%) at 45 min before declining. CKII was also stimulated in resistant (19%) and diabetic (34%) subjects. Basal CKII activity in resistant subjects was 40% higher than in either sensitive or diabetic subjects, although the concentration of CKII protein, as determined by Western blotting, was equal among the three groups. Basal CKII activity was correlated with fasting plasma insulin concentrations, suggesting that the higher activity in resistant subjects resulted from insulin action. Extracts of muscle obtained from all three groups either before or after insulin administration were treated with immobilized alkaline phosphatase, which reduced and equalized CKII activity. These results suggest that insulin stimulates CKII activity in human skeletal muscle by a mechanism involving phosphorylation of either CKII or of an effector molecule, and support the idea that elevated basal activity in resistant subjects results from insulin action. It appears that the ability of insulin to activate CKII in skeletal muscle is not impaired in insulin-resistant Pima Indians, and that the biochemical lesion responsible for insulin resistance occurs either downstream from CKII or in a different pathway of insulin action.
Type 2 diabetes is characterized by insulin resistance with a relative deficiency in insulin secretion. This study explored the potential communication between insulin-resistant human skeletal muscle and primary (human and rat) β-cells.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Human skeletal muscle cells were cultured for up to 24 h with tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α to induce insulin resistance, and mRNA expression for cytokines was analyzed and compared with controls (without TNF-α). Conditioned media were collected and candidate cytokines were measured by antibody array. Human and rat primary β-cells were used to explore the impact of exposure to conditioned media for 24 h on apoptosis, proliferation, short-term insulin secretion, and key signaling protein phosphorylation and expression.
Human myotubes express and release a different panel of myokines depending on their insulin sensitivity, with each panel exerting differential effects on β-cells. Conditioned medium from control myotubes increased proliferation and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) from primary β-cells, whereas conditioned medium from TNF-α–treated insulin-resistant myotubes (TMs) exerted detrimental effects that were either independent (increased apoptosis and decreased proliferation) or dependent on the presence of TNF-α in TM (blunted GSIS). Knockdown of β-cell mitogen-activated protein 4 kinase 4 prevented these effects. Glucagon-like peptide 1 protected β-cells against decreased proliferation and apoptosis evoked by TMs, while interleukin-1 receptor antagonist only prevented the latter.
Taken together, these data suggest a possible new route of communication between skeletal muscle and β-cells that is modulated by insulin resistance and could contribute to normal β-cell functional mass in healthy subjects, as well as the decrease seen in type 2 diabetes.
Increased cellular exposure to oxidants may contribute to the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Skeletal muscle is the primary site of insulin-dependent glucose disposal in the body; however, the effects of oxidative stress on insulin signaling and glucose transport activity in mammalian skeletal muscle are not well understood. We therefore studied the effects of a low-level in vitro oxidant stress (30–40 μM H2O2) on basal and insulin-stimulated (5 mU/ml) glucose transport activity and insulin signaling at 2, 4, and 6 hr in isolated rat soleus muscle. H2O2 increased basal glucose transport activity at 2 and 4 hr, but not at 6 hr. This lowlevel oxidant stress significantly impaired insulin-stimulated glucose transport activity at all time points, and was associated with inhibition of insulin-stimulated phosphorylation of Akt Ser473 and GSK-3β Ser9. In the presence of insulin, H2O2 decreased total protein expression of IRS-1 at 6 hr and IRS-2 at 4 and 6 hr. Phosphorylation of p38 MAPK Thr180/Tyr182 was transiently increased by H2O2 in the presence and absence of insulin at 2 and 4 hr, but not at 6 hr. Selective inhibition of p38 MAPK with A304000 partially rescued the H2O2-induced reduction in insulin-stimulated glucose transport activity. These results indicate that direct in vitro exposure of isolated mammalian skeletal muscle to a low-level oxidant stress impairs distal insulin signaling and insulin-stimulated glucose transport activity, at least in part, due to a p38 MAPK-dependent mechanism.
Subgroups of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus demand large insulin doses to maintain euglycemia. These patients are characterized by severe skeletal muscle insulin resistance and the underlying pathology remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to examine protein expression of the principal glucose transporter, GLUT4, and associated proteins in skeletal muscle from type 2 diabetic patients characterized by severe insulin resistance.
Seven type 2 diabetic patients with severe insulin resistance (mean insulin dose 195 IU/day) were compared with seven age matched type 2 diabetic patients who did not require insulin treatment, and with an age matched healthy control group. Protein expression of GLUT4 and associated proteins was assessed in muscle and fat biopsies using standard western blotting techniques.
GLUT4 protein expression was significantly reduced by ∼30 pct in skeletal muscle tissue from severely insulin resistant type 2 diabetic subjects, compared with both healthy controls and type 2 diabetic subjects that did not require insulin treatment. In fat tissue, GLUT4 protein expression was reduced in both diabetic groups. In skeletal muscle, the reduced GLUT4 expression in severe insulin resistance was associated with decreased ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme 9 (UBC9) expression while expression of GLUT1, TBC1D1 and AS160 was not significantly different among type 2 diabetic patients and matched controls.
Type 2 diabetic patients with severe insulin resistance have reduced expression of GLUT4 in skeletal muscle compared to patients treated with oral antidiabetic drugs alone. GLUT4 protein levels may therefore play a role in the pathology behind type 2 diabetes mellitus among subgroups of patients, and this may explain the heterogeneous response to insulin treatment. This new finding contributes to the understanding of the underlying mechanisms for the development of extreme insulin resistance.