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1.  Global Transcript Profiles of Fat in Monozygotic Twins Discordant for BMI: Pathways behind Acquired Obesity  
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(3):e51.
The acquired component of complex traits is difficult to dissect in humans. Obesity represents such a trait, in which the metabolic and molecular consequences emerge from complex interactions of genes and environment. With the substantial morbidity associated with obesity, a deeper understanding of the concurrent metabolic changes is of considerable importance. The goal of this study was to investigate this important acquired component and expose obesity-induced changes in biological pathways in an identical genetic background.
Methods and Findings
We used a special study design of “clonal controls,” rare monozygotic twins discordant for obesity identified through a national registry of 2,453 young, healthy twin pairs. A total of 14 pairs were studied (eight male, six female; white), with a mean ± standard deviation (SD) age 25.8 ± 1.4 y and a body mass index (BMI) difference 5.2 ± 1.8 kg/m2. Sequence analyses of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in subcutaneous fat and peripheral leukocytes revealed no aberrant heteroplasmy between the co-twins. However, mtDNA copy number was reduced by 47% in the obese co-twin's fat. In addition, novel pathway analyses of the adipose tissue transcription profiles exposed significant down-regulation of mitochondrial branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) catabolism (p < 0.0001). In line with this finding, serum levels of insulin secretion-enhancing BCAAs were increased in obese male co-twins (9% increase, p = 0.025). Lending clinical relevance to the findings, in both sexes the observed aberrations in mitochondrial amino acid metabolism pathways in fat correlated closely with liver fat accumulation, insulin resistance, and hyperinsulinemia, early aberrations of acquired obesity in these healthy young adults.
Our findings emphasize a substantial role of mitochondrial energy- and amino acid metabolism in obesity and development of insulin resistance.
Leena Peltonen and colleagues uncover the metabolic changes that result from obesity through an analysis of genetically identical twin pairs in which one was obese and the other was not.
Editors' Summary
Around the world, the proportion of people who are obese (people with an unhealthy amount of body fat) is increasing. In the US, for example, 1 adult in 7 was obese in the mid 1970s. That is, their body mass index (BMI)—their weight in kilograms divided by their height in meters squared—was more than 30. Nowadays, 1 US adult in 3 has a BMI this high and, by 2025, it is predicted that 1 in 2 will be obese. This obesity epidemic is being driven by lifestyle changes that encourage the over-consumption of energy-rich foods and discourage regular physical activity. The resultant energy imbalance leads to weight gain (the excess energy is stored as body fat or adipose tissue) and also triggers numerous metabolic changes, alterations in the chemical processes that convert food into the energy and various substances needed to support life. These obesity-related metabolic changes increase a person's risk of developing adverse health conditions such as diabetes, a condition in which dangerously high levels of sugar from food accumulate in the blood.
Why Was This Study Done?
The changes in human fat in obesity have not been completely understood, although the abnormal metabolism of adipose tissue is increasingly seen as playing a critical part in excessive weight gain. It has been very difficult to decipher which molecular and metabolic changes associated with obesity are the result of becoming obese, and which might contribute towards the acquisition of obesity in humans in the first place. To discover more about the influence of environment on obesity-induced metabolic changes, the researchers in this study have investigated these changes in pairs of genetically identical twins.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers recruited 14 pairs of genetically identical Finnish twins born between 1975 and 1979 who were “obesity discordant”—that is, one twin of each pair had a BMI of about 25 (not obese); the other had a BMI of about 30 (obese). The researchers took fat and blood samples from each twin, determined the insulin sensitivity of each, and measured the body composition and various fat stores of each. They found that the obese twins had more subcutaneous, intra-abdominal, and liver fat and were less insulin sensitive than the non-obese twins. Insulin sensitivity correlated with the amount of liver fat. Analysis of gene expression in the fat samples showed that 19 gene pathways (mainly inflammatory pathways) were expressed more strongly (up-regulated) in the obese twins than the non-obese twins, whereas seven pathways were down-regulated. The most highly down-regulated pathway was a mitochondrial pathway involved in amino acid breakdown, but mitochondrial energy metabolism pathways were also down-regulated. Finally, mitochondrial DNA copy number in fat was reduced in the obese twins by nearly half, a novel observation that could partly account for the obesity-induced metabolic defects of these individuals.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These and other findings identify several pathways that are involved in the development of obesity and insulin resistance. In particular, they suggest that changes in mitochondrial energy production pathways and in mitochondrial amino acid metabolism pathways could play important roles in the development of obesity and of insulin resistance and in the accumulation of liver fat even in young obese people. The study design involving identical twins has here produced some evidence for aberrations in molecules critical for acquired obesity. The results suggest that careful management of obesity by lifestyle changes has the potential to correct the obesity-related metabolic changes in fat that would otherwise lead to diabetes and other adverse health conditions in obese individuals. In addition, they suggest that the development of therapies designed to correct mitochondrial metabolism might help to reduce the illnesses associated with obesity.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia has pages on obesity and diabetes (in English and Spanish)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on all aspects of obesity (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service's health Web site (NHS Direct) provides information about obesity
The International Obesity Taskforce provides information about preventing obesity and on diabetes and obesity
The UK Foods Standards Agency and the United States Department of Agriculture provide online tools and useful advice about healthy eating for adults and children
Information is available for patients and carers from the US National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse on diabetes, including information on insulin resistance
PMCID: PMC2265758  PMID: 18336063
2.  Global Gene Expression Profiles of Subcutaneous Adipose and Muscle From Glucose-Tolerant, Insulin-Sensitive, and Insulin-Resistant Individuals Matched for BMI 
Diabetes  2011;60(3):1019-1029.
To determine altered gene expression profiles in subcutaneous adipose and skeletal muscle from nondiabetic, insulin-resistant individuals compared with insulin-sensitive individuals matched for BMI.
A total of 62 nondiabetic individuals were chosen for extremes of insulin sensitivity (31 insulin-resistant and 31 insulin-sensitive subjects; 40 were European American and 22 were African American) and matched for age and obesity measures. Global gene expression profiles were determined and compared between ethnic groups and between insulin-resistant and insulin-sensitive participants individually and using gene-set enrichment analysis.
African American and European American subjects differed in 58 muscle and 140 adipose genes, including many inflammatory and metabolically important genes. Peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor γ cofactor 1A (PPARGC1A) was 1.75-fold reduced with insulin resistance in muscle, and fatty acid and lipid metabolism and oxidoreductase activity also were downregulated. Unexpected categories included ubiquitination, citrullination, and protein degradation. In adipose, highly represented categories included lipid and fatty acid metabolism, insulin action, and cell-cycle regulation. Inflammatory genes were increased in European American subjects and were among the top Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathways on gene-set enrichment analysis. FADS1, VEGFA, PTPN3, KLF15, PER3, STEAP4, and AGTR1 were among genes expressed differentially in both adipose and muscle.
Adipose tissue gene expression showed more differences between insulin-resistant versus insulin-sensitive groups than the expression of genes in muscle. We confirm the role of PPARGC1A in muscle and show some support for inflammation in adipose from European American subjects but find prominent roles for lipid metabolism in insulin sensitivity independent of obesity in both tissues.
PMCID: PMC3046820  PMID: 21266331
3.  Partial Inhibition of Adipose Tissue Lipolysis Improves Glucose Metabolism and Insulin Sensitivity Without Alteration of Fat Mass 
PLoS Biology  2013;11(2):e1001485.
Partial inhibition of adipose tissue lipolysis does not increase fat mass but improves glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity through modulation of fatty acid turnover and induction of fat cell de novo lipogenesis.
When energy is needed, white adipose tissue (WAT) provides fatty acids (FAs) for use in peripheral tissues via stimulation of fat cell lipolysis. FAs have been postulated to play a critical role in the development of obesity-induced insulin resistance, a major risk factor for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. However, whether and how chronic inhibition of fat mobilization from WAT modulates insulin sensitivity remains elusive. Hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) participates in the breakdown of WAT triacylglycerol into FAs. HSL haploinsufficiency and treatment with a HSL inhibitor resulted in improvement of insulin tolerance without impact on body weight, fat mass, and WAT inflammation in high-fat-diet–fed mice. In vivo palmitate turnover analysis revealed that blunted lipolytic capacity is associated with diminution in FA uptake and storage in peripheral tissues of obese HSL haploinsufficient mice. The reduction in FA turnover was accompanied by an improvement of glucose metabolism with a shift in respiratory quotient, increase of glucose uptake in WAT and skeletal muscle, and enhancement of de novo lipogenesis and insulin signalling in liver. In human adipocytes, HSL gene silencing led to improved insulin-stimulated glucose uptake, resulting in increased de novo lipogenesis and activation of cognate gene expression. In clinical studies, WAT lipolytic rate was positively and negatively correlated with indexes of insulin resistance and WAT de novo lipogenesis gene expression, respectively. In obese individuals, chronic inhibition of lipolysis resulted in induction of WAT de novo lipogenesis gene expression. Thus, reduction in WAT lipolysis reshapes FA fluxes without increase of fat mass and improves glucose metabolism through cell-autonomous induction of fat cell de novo lipogenesis, which contributes to improved insulin sensitivity.
Author Summary
In periods of energy demand, mobilization of fat stores in mammals (i.e., adipose tissue lipolysis) is essential to provide energy in the form of fatty acids. In excess, however, fatty acids induce resistance to the action of insulin, which serves to regulate glucose metabolism in skeletal muscle and liver. Insulin resistance (or low insulin sensitivity) is believed to be a cornerstone of the complications of obesity such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. In this study, our clinical observation of natural variation in fat cell lipolysis in individuals reveals that a high lipolytic rate is associated with low insulin sensitivity. Furthermore, partial genetic and pharmacologic inhibition of hormone-sensitive lipase, one of the enzymes involved in the breakdown of white adipose tissue lipids, results in improvement of insulin sensitivity in mice without gain in body weight and fat mass. We undertake a series of mechanistic studies in mice and in human fat cells to show that blunted lipolytic capacity increases the synthesis of new fatty acids from glucose in fat cells, a pathway that has recently been shown by others to be a major determinant of whole body insulin sensitivity. In conclusion, partial inhibition of adipose tissue lipolysis is a plausible strategy in the treatment of obesity-related insulin resistance.
PMCID: PMC3576369  PMID: 23431266
4.  Muscle Mitochondrial ATP Synthesis and Glucose Transport/Phosphorylation in Type 2 Diabetes 
PLoS Medicine  2007;4(5):e154.
Muscular insulin resistance is frequently characterized by blunted increases in glucose-6-phosphate (G-6-P) reflecting impaired glucose transport/phosphorylation. These abnormalities likely relate to excessive intramyocellular lipids and mitochondrial dysfunction. We hypothesized that alterations in insulin action and mitochondrial function should be present even in nonobese patients with well-controlled type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).
Methods and Findings
We measured G-6-P, ATP synthetic flux (i.e., synthesis) and lipid contents of skeletal muscle with 31P/1H magnetic resonance spectroscopy in ten patients with T2DM and in two control groups: ten sex-, age-, and body mass-matched elderly people; and 11 younger healthy individuals. Although insulin sensitivity was lower in patients with T2DM, muscle lipid contents were comparable and hyperinsulinemia increased G-6-P by 50% (95% confidence interval [CI] 39%–99%) in all groups. Patients with diabetes had 27% lower fasting ATP synthetic flux compared to younger controls (p = 0.031). Insulin stimulation increased ATP synthetic flux only in controls (younger: 26%, 95% CI 13%–42%; older: 11%, 95% CI 2%–25%), but failed to increase even during hyperglycemic hyperinsulinemia in patients with T2DM. Fasting free fatty acids and waist-to-hip ratios explained 44% of basal ATP synthetic flux. Insulin sensitivity explained 30% of insulin-stimulated ATP synthetic flux.
Patients with well-controlled T2DM feature slightly lower flux through muscle ATP synthesis, which occurs independently of glucose transport /phosphorylation and lipid deposition but is determined by lipid availability and insulin sensitivity. Furthermore, the reduction in insulin-stimulated glucose disposal despite normal glucose transport/phosphorylation suggests further abnormalities mainly in glycogen synthesis in these patients.
Michael Roden and colleagues report that even patients with well-controlled insulin-resistant type 2 diabetes have altered mitochondrial function.
Editors' Summary
Diabetes mellitus is an increasingly common chronic disease characterized by high blood sugar (glucose) levels. In normal individuals, blood sugar levels are maintained by the hormone insulin. Insulin is released by the pancreas when blood glucose levels rise after eating (glucose is produced by the digestion of food) and “instructs” insulin-responsive muscle and fat cells to take up glucose from the bloodstream. The cells then use glucose as a fuel or convert it into glycogen, a storage form of glucose. In type 2 diabetes, the commonest type of diabetes, the muscle and fat cells become nonresponsive to insulin (a condition called insulin resistance) and consequently blood glucose levels rise. Over time, this hyperglycemia increases the risk of heart attacks, kidney failure, and other life-threatening complications.
Why Was This Study Done?
Insulin resistance is often an early sign of type 2 diabetes, sometimes predating its development by many years, so understanding its causes might provide clues about how to stop the global diabetes epidemic. One theory is that mitochondria—cellular structures that produce the energy (in the form of a molecule called ATP) needed to keep cells functioning—do not work properly in people with insulin resistance. Mitochondria change (metabolize) fatty acids into energy, and recent studies have revealed that fat accumulation caused by poorly regulated fatty acid metabolism blocks insulin signaling, thus causing insulin resistance. Other studies using magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to study mitochondrial function noninvasively in human muscle indicate that mitochondria are dysfunctional in people with insulin resistance by showing that ATP synthesis is impaired in such individuals. In this study, the researchers have examined both baseline and insulin-stimulated mitochondrial function in nonobese patients with well-controlled type 2 diabetes and in normal controls to discover more about the relationship between mitochondrial dysfunction and insulin resistance.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers determined the insulin sensitivity of people with type 2 diabetes and two sets of people (the “controls”) who did not have diabetes: one in which the volunteers were age-matched to the people with diabetes, and the other containing younger individuals (insulin resistance increases with age). To study insulin sensitivity in all three groups, the researchers used a “hyperinsulinemic–euglycemic clamp.” For this, after an overnight fast, the participants' insulin levels were kept high with a continuous insulin infusion while blood glucose levels were kept normal using a variable glucose infusion. In this situation, the glucose infusion rate equals glucose uptake by the body and therefore measures tissue sensitivity to insulin. Before and during the clamp, the researchers used MRS to measure glucose-6-phosphate (an indicator of how effectively glucose is taken into cells and phosphorylated), ATP synthesis, and the fat content of the participants' muscle cells. Insulin sensitivity was lower in the patients with diabetes than in the controls, but muscle lipid content was comparable and hyperinsulinemia increased glucose-6-phosphate levels similarly in all the groups. Patients with diabetes and the older controls had lower fasting ATP synthesis rates than the young controls and, whereas insulin stimulation increased ATP synthesis in all the controls, it had no effect in the patients with diabetes. In addition, fasting blood fatty acid levels were inversely related to basal ATP synthesis, whereas insulin sensitivity was directly related to insulin-stimulated ATP synthesis.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that the impairment of muscle mitochondrial ATP synthesis in fasting conditions and after insulin stimulation in people with diabetes is not due to impaired glucose transport/phosphorylation or fat deposition in the muscles. Instead, it seems to be determined by lipid availability and insulin sensitivity. These results add to the evidence suggesting that mitochondrial function is disrupted in type 2 diabetes and in insulin resistance, but also suggest that there may be abnormalities in glycogen synthesis. More work is needed to determine the exact nature of these abnormalities and to discover whether they can be modulated to prevent the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. For now, though, these findings re-emphasize the need for people with type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance to reduce their food intake to compensate for the reduced energy needs of their muscles and to exercise to increase the ATP-generating capacity of their muscles. Both lifestyle changes could improve their overall health and life expectancy.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia has pages on diabetes
The US National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases provides information for patients on diabetes and insulin resistance
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information on diabetes for patients and professionals
American Diabetes Association provides information for patients on diabetes and insulin resistance
Diabetes UK has information for patients and professionals on diabetes
PMCID: PMC1858707  PMID: 17472434
5.  Effects of body weight and alcohol consumption on insulin sensitivity 
Nutrition Journal  2010;9:14.
Obesity is a risk factor for the development of insulin resistance, which can eventually lead to type-2 diabetes. Alcohol consumption is a protective factor against insulin resistance, and thus protects against the development of type-2 diabetes. The mechanism by which alcohol protects against the development of type-2 diabetes is not well known. To determine the mechanism by which alcohol improves insulin sensitivity, we fed water or alcohol to lean, control, and obese mice. The aim of this study was to determine whether alcohol consumption and body weights affect overlapping metabolic pathways and to identify specific target genes that are regulated in these pathways.
Adipose tissue dysfunction has been associated with the development of type-2 diabetes. We assessed possible gene expression alterations in epididymal white adipose tissue (WAT). We obtained WAT from mice fed a calorie restricted (CR), low fat (LF Control) or high fat (HF) diets and either water or 20% ethanol in the drinking water. We screened the expression of genes related to the regulation of energy homeostasis and insulin regulation using a gene array composed of 384 genes.
Obesity induced insulin resistance and calorie restriction and alcohol improved insulin sensitivity. The insulin resistance in obese mice was associated with the increased expression of inflammatory markers Cd68, Il-6 and Il-1α; in contrast, most of these genes were down-regulated in CR mice. Anti-inflammatory factors such as Il-10 and adrenergic beta receptor kinase 1 (Adrbk1) were decreased in obese mice and increased by CR and alcohol. Also, we report a direct correlation between body weight and the expression of the following genes: Kcnj11 (potassium inwardly-rectifying channel, subfamily J, member 11), Lpin2 (lipin2), and Dusp9 (dual-specificity MAP kinase phosphatase 9).
We show that alcohol consumption increased insulin sensitivity. Additionally, alterations in insulin sensitivity related with obesity were coupled with alterations in inflammatory genes. We provide evidence that alcohol may improve insulin sensitivity by up-regulating anti-inflammatory genes. Moreover, we have indentified potential gene targets in energy metabolic pathways and signal transducers that may contribute to obesity-related insulin resistance as well as calorie restriction and alcohol-induced insulin sensitivity.
PMCID: PMC2859759  PMID: 20307313
6.  GLUT4 Defects in Adipose Tissue Are Early Signs of Metabolic Alterations in Alms1GT/GT, a Mouse Model for Obesity and Insulin Resistance 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e109540.
Dysregulation of signaling pathways in adipose tissue leading to insulin resistance can contribute to the development of obesity-related metabolic disorders. Alström Syndrome, a recessive ciliopathy, caused by mutations in ALMS1, is characterized by progressive metabolic alterations such as childhood obesity, hyperinsulinemia, and type 2 diabetes. Here we investigated the role of Alms1 disruption in AT expansion and insulin responsiveness in a murine model for Alström Syndrome. A gene trap insertion in Alms1 on the insulin sensitive C57BL6/Ei genetic background leads to early hyperinsulinemia and a progressive increase in body weight. At 6 weeks of age, before the onset of the metabolic disease, the mutant mice had enlarged fat depots with hypertrophic adipocytes, but without signs of inflammation. Expression of lipogenic enzymes was increased. Pre-adipocytes isolated from mutant animals demonstrated normal adipogenic differentiation but gave rise to mature adipocytes with reduced insulin-stimulated glucose uptake. Assessment of whole body glucose homeostasis revealed glucose intolerance. Insulin stimulation resulted in proper AKT phosphorylation in adipose tissue. However, the total amount of glucose transporter 4 (SLC4A2) and its translocation to the plasma membrane were reduced in mutant adipose depots compared to wildtype littermates. Alterations in insulin stimulated trafficking of glucose transporter 4 are an early sign of metabolic dysfunction in Alström mutant mice, providing a possible explanation for the reduced glucose uptake and the compensatory hyperinsulinemia. The metabolic signaling deficits either reside downstream or are independent of AKT activation and suggest a role for ALMS1 in GLUT4 trafficking. Alström mutant mice represent an interesting model for the development of metabolic disease in which adipose tissue with a reduced glucose uptake can expand by de novo lipogenesis to an obese state.
PMCID: PMC4192353  PMID: 25299671
7.  BMI-independent inflammation in omental adipose tissue associated with insulin resistance in morbid obesity 
Obesity is a strong risk factor for resistance to insulin-mediated glucose disposal, a precursor of type 2 diabetes and other disorders.
To identify molecular pathways that may cause such obesity-associated insulin resistance in human subjects, we exploited the fact that not all obese individuals are prone to insulin resistance. Thus the degree of obesity as a variable was removed by studying morbidly obese human subjects of similar BMI values who are insulin-sensitive versus insulin-resistant.
University Medical Center, United States
Combining gene expression profiling with computational approaches, we determined the global gene expression signatures of omental and subcutaneous adipose tissue samples obtained from similarly obese patients undergoing gastric bypass surgery.
Gene sets related to chemokine activity and chemokine receptor-binding were identified as most highly expressed in the omental tissue from insulin-resistant compared to insulin sensitive subjects, independent of BMI. These upregulated genes included chemokines CCL2, CCL3, CCL4, CCL18 and IL8/CXCL8, and were not differentially expressed in subcutaneous adipose tissues between the two groups of subjects. Strikingly, insulin resistance, but not BMI, was associated with increased macrophage infiltration in the omental adipose tissue, as was adipocyte size, in these morbidly obese subjects.
Our findings demonstrate that inflammation of omental adipose tissue is strongly associated with insulin resistance in human obesity even in subjects with similar BMI values. Increased omental fat mass may contribute to the amplified inflammatory response observed in this population.
PMCID: PMC2980798  PMID: 20678967
abdominal adipose tissue; insulin resistance; chemokines; inflammation; macrophages
8.  Myeloid Cell-Restricted Insulin Receptor Deficiency Protects Against Obesity-Induced Inflammation and Systemic Insulin Resistance 
PLoS Genetics  2010;6(5):e1000938.
A major component of obesity-related insulin resistance is the establishment of a chronic inflammatory state with invasion of white adipose tissue by mononuclear cells. This results in the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which in turn leads to insulin resistance in target tissues such as skeletal muscle and liver. To determine the role of insulin action in macrophages and monocytes in obesity-associated insulin resistance, we conditionally inactivated the insulin receptor (IR) gene in myeloid lineage cells in mice (IRΔmyel-mice). While these animals exhibit unaltered glucose metabolism on a normal diet, they are protected from the development of obesity-associated insulin resistance upon high fat feeding. Euglycemic, hyperinsulinemic clamp studies demonstrate that this results from decreased basal hepatic glucose production and from increased insulin-stimulated glucose disposal in skeletal muscle. Furthermore, IRΔmyel-mice exhibit decreased concentrations of circulating tumor necrosis factor (TNF) α and thus reduced c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) activity in skeletal muscle upon high fat feeding, reflecting a dramatic reduction of the chronic and systemic low-grade inflammatory state associated with obesity. This is paralleled by a reduced accumulation of macrophages in white adipose tissue due to a pronounced impairment of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) 9 expression and activity in these cells. These data indicate that insulin action in myeloid cells plays an unexpected, critical role in the regulation of macrophage invasion into white adipose tissue and in the development of obesity-associated insulin resistance.
Author Summary
Obesity represents a major health burden with steadily increasing incidence. While it is associated with numerous co-morbidities, type 2 diabetes mellitus represents one of the major life-threatening, obesity-related conditions. Over the last years, it has become clear that during the course of obesity development not only does fat mass increase, but also fat composition changes qualitatively, leading to an influx of inflammatory cells, such as macrophages, into adipose tissue. Macrophages in turn secrete inflammatory mediators, which inhibit insulin action in skeletal muscle, liver, and even the central nervous system to ultimately cause insulin-resistant diabetes mellitus. However, the effect of insulin action and resistance in these inflammatory cell types themselves has not been addressed. To this end, we have generated and analyzed mice with inactivation of the insulin receptor specifically in myeloid cell-derived, inflammatory cells. Surprisingly, these animals are protected from the development of obesity-associated deterioration of glucose metabolism, thereby defining insulin action in inflammatory cells as a novel and promising target for therapeutic intervention against obesity-associated diabetes mellitus.
PMCID: PMC2865520  PMID: 20463885
9.  Expression of the selenoprotein S (SELS) gene in subcutaneous adipose tissue and SELS genotype are associated with metabolic risk factors 
Metabolism  2011;60(1-6):114-120.
The selenoprotein S (SELS) is a putative receptor for serum amyloid A, and recent studies have suggested that SELS may be a link between type 2 diabetes mellitus and inflammation. Genetic studies of SELS polymorphisms have revealed associations with circulating levels of inflammatory markers and hard end points of cardiovascular disease. In this study, we analyzed SELS expression in subcutaneous adipose tissue and SELS genotype in relation to metabolic risk factors. DNA microarray expression analysis was used to study the expression of SELS in lean and obese siblings from the Swedish Obese Subjects Sib Pair Study. TaqMan genotyping was used to analyze 3 polymorphisms, previously found to be associated with circulating levels of inflammatory markers, in the INTERGENE case-control study of myocardial infarction and unstable angina pectoris. Possible associations between SELS genotype and/or expression with anthropometry and measures of metabolic status were investigated. Real-time polymerase chain reaction was used to analyze the SELS expression in isolated human adipocytes incubated with insulin. In lean subjects, we found correlations between SELS gene expression in subcutaneous adipose tissue and measures of obesity (waist, P = .045; sagittal diameter, P = .031) and blood pressure (diastolic, P = .016; systolic P = .015); and in obese subjects, we found correlations with measures of obesity (body mass index, P = .03; sagittal diameter, P = .008) and glycemic control (homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance, P = .011; insulin, P = .009) after adjusting for age and sex. The 5227GG genotype was associated with serum levels of insulin (P = .006) and homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (P = .007). The expression of SELS increased after insulin stimulation in isolated human adipocytes (P = .008). In this study, we found an association between both SELS gene expression in adipose tissue and SELS genotype with measures of glycemic control. In vitro studies demonstrated that the SELS gene is regulated by insulin in human subcutaneous adipocytes. This study further supports a role for SELS in the development of metabolic disease, especially in the context of insulin resistance.
PMCID: PMC3004038  PMID: 20619427
10.  Age-related inflammation and insulin resistance: a review of their intricate interdependency 
Archives of Pharmacal Research  2014;37(12):1507-1514.
Chronic inflammation is a major risk factor underlying aging and the associated diseases of aging; of particular interest is insulin resistance during aging. Chronic inflammation impairs normal lipid accumulation, adipose tissue function, mitochondrial function, and causes endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, which lead to insulin resistance. However, some studies show that insulin resistance itself amplifies chronic inflammation. The activity of the insulin-dependent Akt signaling pathway is highlighted because of its decrease in insulin-sensitive organs, like liver and muscle, which may underlie insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia, and its increased levels in non-metabolic organs, such as kidney and aorta. In that the prevalence of obesity has increased substantially for all age groups in recent years, our review summarizes the data showing the involvement of chronic inflammation in obesity-induced insulin resistance, which perpetuates reciprocal interactions between the chronic inflammatory process and increased adiposity, thereby accelerating the aging process.
PMCID: PMC4246128  PMID: 25239110
Insulin resistance; Molecular inflammation; Aging
11.  Crif1 Deficiency Reduces Adipose OXPHOS Capacity and Triggers Inflammation and Insulin Resistance in Mice 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(3):e1003356.
Impaired mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) has been proposed as an etiological mechanism underlying insulin resistance. However, the initiating organ of OXPHOS dysfunction during the development of systemic insulin resistance has yet to be identified. To determine whether adipose OXPHOS deficiency plays an etiological role in systemic insulin resistance, the metabolic phenotype of mice with OXPHOS–deficient adipose tissue was examined. Crif1 is a protein required for the intramitochondrial production of mtDNA–encoded OXPHOS subunits; therefore, Crif1 haploinsufficient deficiency in mice results in a mild, but specific, failure of OXPHOS capacity in vivo. Although adipose-specific Crif1-haploinsufficient mice showed normal growth and development, they became insulin-resistant. Crif1-silenced adipocytes showed higher expression of chemokines, the expression of which is dependent upon stress kinases and antioxidant. Accordingly, examination of adipose tissue from Crif1-haploinsufficient mice revealed increased secretion of MCP1 and TNFα, as well as marked infiltration by macrophages. These findings indicate that the OXPHOS status of adipose tissue determines its metabolic and inflammatory responses, and may cause systemic inflammation and insulin resistance.
Author Summary
Type 2 diabetes is one of the most challenging health problems in the 21st century. Although insulin resistance is regarded as a fundamental defect that precedes the development of type 2 diabetes, the nature and cause of insulin resistance remain unknown. Adipose tissue is an important organ that determines whole-body energy metabolism, and its dysfunction is a critical element in the development of systemic insulin resistance. Adipose mitochondrial function is suppressed in the insulin-resistant state, and increased adipose mitochondrial biogenesis is associated with the reversal of insulin resistance by a PPARγ agonist. However, despite these important observations, little is known about how mitochondrial respiratory dysfunction in white adipose tissue (WAT) causes insulin resistance. To determine whether adipose deficiency of mitochondrial respiratory capacity plays an etiological role in systemic insulin resistance, the metabolic phenotype of mice with mitochondrial OXPHOS (oxidative phosphorylation)–deficient adipose tissue was examined. Crif1 is a protein required for the translation of mtDNA–encoded OXPHOS subunits. Interestingly, mice haploinsufficient for Crif1 in adipose tissue showed reduced OXPHOS capacity and developed marked insulin resistance.
PMCID: PMC3597503  PMID: 23516375
12.  What distinguishes adipose tissue of severely obese humans who are insulin sensitive and resistant? 
Current opinion in lipidology  2013;24(1):49-56.
Purpose of review
Despite a strong correlation between obesity and insulin resistance, 25% of severely obese (BMI >40) individuals are insulin sensitive. In this review, we will examine the factors in adipose tissue that distinguish the two groups, as well as reasons for believing the insulin-sensitive group will be less disease prone.
Recent findings
Obesity has been linked to the metabolic syndrome with an increase in visceral (intra-abdominal) compared to subcutaneous fat. Recent studies in which adipose tissue of insulin-sensitive and insulin-resistant patients with severe obesity were compared indicate that the insulin-resistant group is also distinguished by increases in oxidative stress and decreases in AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activity. In contrast, changes in the expression of genes for SIRT1, inflammatory cytokines, mitochondrial biogenesis and function, and the two α-isoforms of AMPK showed more depot variation. Studies of how these and other changes in adipose tissue respond to bariatric surgery are still in their infancy.
Available data suggest that increases in oxidative stress, decreases in AMPK activity and SIRT1 gene expression, depot-specific changes in inflammatory, mitochondrial and other genes distinguish adipose tissue of insulin resistant from insulin-sensitive individuals with severe obesity.
PMCID: PMC3575680  PMID: 23298959
AMP-activated protein kinase; inflammation; insulin resistance; oxidative stress; SIRT1
13.  Inverse Regulation of Inflammation and Mitochondrial Function in Adipose Tissue Defines Extreme Insulin Sensitivity in Morbidly Obese Patients 
Diabetes  2013;62(3):855-863.
Obesity is associated with insulin resistance, a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. However, not all obese individuals are insulin resistant, which confounds our understanding of the mechanistic link between these conditions. We conducted transcriptome analyses on 835 obese subjects with mean BMI of 48.8, on which we have previously reported genetic associations of gene expression. Here, we selected ∼320 nondiabetic (HbA1c <7.0) subjects and further stratified the cohort into insulin-resistant versus insulin-sensitive subgroups based on homeostasis model assessment–insulin resistance. An unsupervised informatics analysis revealed that immune response and inflammation-related genes were significantly downregulated in the omental adipose tissue of obese individuals with extreme insulin sensitivity and, to a much lesser extent, in subcutaneous adipose tissue. In contrast, genes related to β-oxidation and the citric acid cycle were relatively overexpressed in adipose of insulin-sensitive patients. These observations were verified by querying an independent cohort of our published dataset of 37 subjects whose subcutaneous adipose tissue was sampled before and after treatment with thiazolidinediones. Whereas the immune response and inflammation pathway genes were downregulated by thiazolidinedione treatment, β-oxidation and citric acid cycle genes were upregulated. This work highlights the critical role that omental adipose inflammatory pathways might play in the pathophysiology of insulin resistance, independent of body weight.
PMCID: PMC3581230  PMID: 23223024
14.  Pparg-P465L Mutation Worsens Hyperglycemia in Ins2-Akita Female Mice via Adipose-Specific Insulin Resistance and Storage Dysfunction 
Diabetes  2010;59(11):2890-2897.
The dominant-negative P467L mutation in peroxisome proliferator activated receptor-γ (PPARγ) was identified in insulin-resistant patients with hyperglycemia and lipodystrophy. In contrast, mice carrying the corresponding Pparg-P465L mutation have normal insulin sensitivity, with mild hyperinsulinemia. We hypothesized that murine Pparg-P465L mutation leads to covert insulin resistance, which is masked by hyperinsulinemia and increased pancreatic islet mass, to retain normal plasma glucose.
We introduced in PpargP465L/+ mice an Ins2-Akita mutation that causes improper protein folding and islet apoptosis to lower plasma insulin.
Unlike Ins2Akita/+ littermates, male PpargP465L/+Ins2Akita/+ mice have drastically reduced life span with enhanced type 1 diabetes. Hyperglycemia in Ins2Akita/+ females is mild. However, PpargP465L/+Ins2Akita/+ females have aggravated hyperglycemia, smaller islets, and reduced plasma insulin. In an insulin tolerance test, they showed smaller reduction in plasma glucose, indicating impaired insulin sensitivity. Although gluconeogenesis is enhanced in PpargP465L/+Ins2Akita/+ mice compared with Ins2Akita/+, exogenous insulin equally suppressed gluconeogenesis in hepatocytes, suggesting that PpargP465L/+Ins2Akita/+ livers are insulin sensitive. Expression of genes regulating insulin sensitivity and glycogen and triglyceride contents suggest that skeletal muscles are equally insulin sensitive. In contrast, adipose tissue and isolated adipocytes from PpargP465L/+Ins2Akita/+ mice have impaired glucose uptake in response to exogenous insulin. PpargP465L/+Ins2Akita/+ mice have smaller fat depots composed of larger adipocytes, suggesting impaired lipid storage with subsequent hepatomegaly and hypertriglyceridemia.
PPARg-P465L mutation worsens hyperglycemia in Ins2Akita/+ mice primarily because of adipose-specific insulin resistance and altered storage function. This underscores the important interplay between insulin and PPARγ in adipose tissues in diabetes.
PMCID: PMC2963548  PMID: 20724579
15.  Macrophage-specific PPARγ controls alternative activation and improves insulin resistance 
Nature  2007;447(7148):1116-1120.
Obesity and insulin resistance, cardinal features of metabolic syndrome, are closely associated with a state of low-grade inflammation1,2. In adipose tissue chronic overnutrition leads to macrophage infiltration, resulting in local inflammation that potentiates insulin resistance3,4. For instance, transgenic expression of Mcp1 in adipose tissue increases macrophage infiltration, inflammation, and insulin resistance5,6. Conversely, disruption of Mcp1 or its receptor, Ccr2, impairs migration of macrophages into adipose tissue, thereby lowering adipose tissue inflammation and improving insulin sensitivity5,7. These findings together suggest a correlation between adipose tissue macrophage content (ATM) and insulin resistance. However, resident macrophages in tissues display tremendous heterogeneity in their activities and functions, primarily reflecting their local metabolic and immune microenvironment8. While Mcp-1 directs recruitment of pro-inflammatory classically activated macrophages to sites of tissue damage5,8, resident macrophages, such as those present in adipose tissue of lean mice, display the alternatively activated phenotype9. Despite their higher reparative capacity10, the precise role of alternatively activated macrophages in obesity-induced insulin resistance remains unknown. Using mice with macrophage-specific deletion of peroxisome proliferator activated receptor-γ (PPARγ), we show here that PPARγ is required for maturation of alternatively activated macrophages. Disruption of PPARγ in myeloid cells impairs alternative macrophage activation, thereby predisposing these animals to development of diet-induced obesity, insulin resistance, and glucose intolerance. Furthermore, gene expression profiling revealed that downregulation of oxidative phosphorylation gene expression in skeletal muscle and liver leads to decreased insulin sensitivity in these tissues. Together, our findings demonstrate that resident alternatively activated macrophages have a beneficial role in regulating nutrient homeostasis and suggest that macrophage polarization towards the alternative state might be a useful strategy for treating type 2 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC2587297  PMID: 17515919
16.  Neutralization of Osteopontin Inhibits Obesity-Induced Inflammation and Insulin Resistance 
Diabetes  2010;59(4):935-946.
Obesity is associated with a state of chronic low-grade inflammation mediated by immune cells that are primarily located to adipose tissue and liver. The chronic inflammatory response appears to underlie obesity-induced metabolic deterioration including insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Osteopontin (OPN) is an inflammatory cytokine, the expression of which is strongly upregulated in adipose tissue and liver upon obesity. Here, we studied OPN effects in obesity-induced inflammation and insulin resistance by targeting OPN action in vivo.
C57BL/6J mice were fed a high-fat diet to induce obesity and were then intravenously treated with an OPN-neutralizing or control antibody. Insulin sensitivity and inflammatory alterations in adipose tissue and liver were assessed.
Interference with OPN action by a neutralizing antibody for 5 days significantly improved insulin sensitivity in diet-induced obese mice. Anti-OPN treatment attenuated liver and adipose tissue macrophage infiltration and inflammatory gene expression by increasing macrophage apoptosis and significantly reducing c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase activation. Moreover, we report OPN as a novel negative regulator for the activation of hepatic signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), which is essential for glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity. Consequently, OPN neutralization decreased expression of hepatic gluconeogenic markers, which are targets of STAT3-mediated downregulation.
These findings demonstrate that antibody-mediated neutralization of OPN action significantly reduces insulin resistance in obesity. OPN neutralization partially decreases obesity-associated inflammation in adipose tissue and liver and reverses signal transduction related to insulin resistance and glucose homeostasis. Hence, targeting OPN could provide a novel approach for the treatment of obesity-related metabolic disorders.
PMCID: PMC2844841  PMID: 20107108
17.  SIRT1 mRNA Expression May Be Associated With Energy Expenditure and Insulin Sensitivity 
Diabetes  2010;59(4):829-835.
Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) is implicated in the regulation of mitochondrial function, energy metabolism, and insulin sensitivity in rodents. No studies are available in humans to demonstrate that SIRT1 expression in insulin-sensitive tissues is associated with energy expenditure and insulin sensitivity.
Energy expenditure (EE), insulin sensitivity, and SIRT1 mRNA adipose tissue expression (n = 81) were measured by indirect calorimetry, hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp, and quantitative RT-PCR in 247 nondiabetic offspring of type 2 diabetic patients.
High EE during the clamp (r = 0.375, P = 2.8 × 10−9) and high ΔEE (EE during the clamp − EE in the fasting state) (r = 0.602, P = 2.5 × 10−24) were associated with high insulin sensitivity. Adipose tissue SIRT1 mRNA expression was significantly associated with EE (r = 0.289, P = 0.010) and with insulin sensitivity (r = 0.334, P = 0.002) during hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp. Furthermore, SIRT1 mRNA expression correlated significantly with the expression of several genes regulating mitochondrial function and energy metabolism (e.g., peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor γ coactivator-1β, estrogen-related receptor α, nuclear respiratory factor-1, and mitochondrial transcription factor A), and with several genes of the respiratory chain (e.g., including NADH dehydrogenase [ubiquinone] 1α subcomplex 2, cytochrome c, cytochrome c oxidase subunit IV, and ATP synthase).
Impaired stimulation of EE by insulin and low SIRT1 expression in insulin-sensitive tissues is likely to reflect impaired regulation of mitochondrial function associated with insulin resistance in humans.
PMCID: PMC2844830  PMID: 20107110
18.  Increased adipose tissue expression of tumor necrosis factor-alpha in human obesity and insulin resistance. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1995;95(5):2409-2415.
Obesity is frequently associated with insulin resistance and abnormal glucose homeostasis. Recent studies in animal models have indicated that TNF-alpha plays an important role in mediating the insulin resistance of obesity through its overexpression in fat tissue. However, the mechanisms linking obesity to insulin resistance and diabetes in humans remain largely unknown. In this study we examined the expression pattern of TNF-alpha mRNA in adipose tissues from 18 control and 19 obese premenopausal women by Northern blot analysis. TNF-alpha protein concentrations in plasma and in conditioned medium of explanted adipose tissue were measured by ELISA. Furthermore, the effects of weight reduction by dietary treatment of obesity on the adipose expression of TNF-alpha mRNA were also analyzed in nine premenopausal obese women, before and after a controlled weight-reduction program. These studies demonstrated that obese individuals express 2.5-fold more TNF-alpha mRNA in fat tissue relative to the lean controls (P < 0.001). Similar increases were also observed in adipose production of TNF-alpha protein but circulating TNF-alpha levels were extremely low or undetectable. A strong positive correlation was observed between TNF-alpha mRNA expression levels in fat tissue and the level of hyperinsulinemia (P < 0.001), an indirect measure of insulin resistance. Finally, body weight reduction in obese subjects which resulted in improved insulin sensitivity was also associated with a decrease in TNF-alpha mRNA expression (45%, P < 0.001) in fat tissue. These results suggest a role for the abnormal regulation of this cytokine in the pathogenesis of obesity-related insulin resistance.
PMCID: PMC295872  PMID: 7738205
19.  Differential Effects of Insulin on Sympathetic Nerve Activity in Agouti Obese Mice 
Journal of hypertension  2010;28(9):1913-1919.
Hyperinsulinemia, which often coexists with obesity and type 2 diabetes, is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and thought to promote hypertension through the sympathetic effects of insulin. Here, we examined the effect of insulin on regional sympathetic nerve activity (SNA) in obesity.
Glucose and insulin tolerance tests were performed to examine insulin sensitivity in agouti obese mice. We used also multifiber recording to compare the regional SNA response to ICV insulin between lean and agouti obese mice.
Agouti obese mice have significantly elevated levels of blood glucose and plasma insulin associated with glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. In lean mice, ICV administration of insulin (20 and 100 μU) caused a dose-dependent increase in SNA subserving hindlimb, kidney and brown adipose tissue (BAT). Of note, the regional SNA responses to insulin were differentially altered in agouti obese mice. While lumbar SNA response to insulin was intact in the obese mice, renal and BAT sympathetic activation to insulin were significantly attenuated in these agouti obese mice. Finally, we assessed the role of phosphoinositol-3 kinase (PI3K) signaling pathway in mediating sympathetic activation to insulin in obesity. Notably, ICV pre-treatment with a PI3K inhibitor (LY294002) blocked the increase in lumbar SNA induced by ICV insulin in lean and agouti obese mice.
Our data suggest a differential regulation by insulin of sympathetic outflow to peripheral tissues in obesity. Our findings also demonstrate the importance of PI3K in lumbar sympathetic activation to insulin in obesity.
PMCID: PMC2920344  PMID: 20577122
Sympathetic nervous system; obesity; insulin resistance; PI3K
20.  Quantitative secretome and glycome of primary human adipocytes during insulin resistance 
Clinical proteomics  2014;11(1):20.
Adipose tissue is both an energy storage depot and an endocrine organ. The impaired regulation of the secreted proteins of adipose tissue, known as adipocytokines, observed during obesity contributes to the onset of whole-body insulin resistance and the pathobiology of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). In addition, the global elevation of the intracellular glycosylation of proteins by O-linked β-N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) via either genetic or pharmacological methods is sufficient to induce insulin resistance in both cultured cells and animal models. The elevation of global O-GlcNAc levels is associated with the altered expression of many adipocytokines. We have previously characterized the rodent adipocyte secretome during insulin sensitive and insulin resistant conditions. Here, we characterize and quantify the secretome and glycome of primary human adipocytes during insulin responsive and insulin resistant conditions generated by the classical method of hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia or by the pharmacological manipulation of O-GlcNAc levels. Using a proteomic approach, we identify 190 secreted proteins and report a total of 20 up-regulated and 6 down-regulated proteins that are detected in both insulin resistant conditions. Moreover, we apply glycomic techniques to examine (1) the sites of N-glycosylation on secreted proteins, (2) the structures of complex N- and O-glycans, and (3) the relative abundance of complex N- and O-glycans structures in insulin responsive and insulin resistant conditions. We identify 91 N-glycosylation sites derived from 51 secreted proteins, as well as 155 and 29 released N- and O-glycans respectively. We go on to quantify many of the N- and O-glycan structures between insulin responsive and insulin resistance conditions demonstrating no significant changes in complex glycosylation in the time frame for the induction of insulin resistance. Thus, our data support that the O-GlcNAc modification is involved in the regulation of adipocytokine secretion upon the induction of insulin resistance in human adipocytes.
PMCID: PMC4055909  PMID: 24948903
O-GlcNAc; Insulin resistance; Type 2 diabetes; Adipocytokine; Tandem mass spectrometry; Shotgun proteomics; Glycomics; N-linked; O-linked
Aging Cell  2012;11(2):284-296.
Protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B (PTP1B) is a negative regulator of insulin signaling and a therapeutic target for type 2 diabetes (T2DM). In this study, we have evaluated the role of PTP1B in the development of aging-associated obesity, inflammation and peripheral insulin resistance by assessing metabolic parameters at 3 and 16 months in PTP1B−/− mice maintained on mixed genetic background (C57Bl/6J x 129Sv/J). Whereas fat mass and adipocyte size were increased in wild-type control mice at 16 months, these parameters did not change with aging in PTP1B−/− mice. Increased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, crown-like structures and hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α were observed only in adipose tissue from 16-month old wild-type mice. Similarly, islet hyperplasia and hyperinsulinemia were observed in wild-type mice with aging-associated obesity, but not in PTP1B−/− animals. Leanness in 16-month old PTP-1B−/− mice was associated with increased energy expenditure. Whole body insulin sensitivity decreased in 16-month old control mice; however studies with the hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp revealed that PTP1B-deficiency prevented this obesity-related decreased peripheral insulin sensitivity. At a molecular level, PTP1B expression and enzymatic activity were up-regulated in liver and muscle of 16-month old wild-type mice as were the activation of stress kinases and the expression of p53. Conversely, insulin receptor-mediated Akt/Foxo1 signaling was attenuated in these aged control mice. Collectively, these data implicate PTP1B in the development of inflammation and insulin resistance associated with obesity during aging and suggest that inhibition of this phosphatase by therapeutic strategies might protect against age-dependent T2DM.
PMCID: PMC3306541  PMID: 22221695
insulin resistance; type 2 diabetes; obesity; inflammation; PTP1B
22.  Important genetic checkpoints for insulin resistance in salt-sensitive (S) Dahl rats 
Despite the marked advances in research on insulin resistance (IR) in humans and animal models of insulin resistance, the mechanisms underlying high salt-induced insulin resistance remain unclear. Insulin resistance is a multifactorial disease with both genetic and environmental factors (such as high salt) involved in its pathogenesis. High salt triggers insulin resistance in genetically susceptible patients and animal models of insulin resistance. One of the mechanisms by which high salt might precipitate insulin resistance is through its ability to enhance an oxidative stress-induced inflammatory response that disrupts the insulin signaling pathway. The aim of this hypothesis is to discuss two complementary approaches to find out how high salt might interact with genetic defects along the insulin signaling and inflammatory pathways to predispose to insulin resistance in a genetically susceptible model of insulin resistance. The first approach will consist of examining variations in genes involved in the insulin signaling pathway in the Dahl S rat (an animal model of insulin resistance and salt-sensitivity) and the Dahl R rat (an animal model of insulin sensitivity and salt-resistance), and the putative cellular mechanisms responsible for the development of insulin resistance. The second approach will consist of studying the over-expressed genes along the inflammatory pathway whose respective activation might be predictive of high salt-induced insulin resistance in Dahl S rats.
Variations in genes encoding the insulin receptor substrates -1 and/or -2 (IRS-1, -2) and/or genes encoding the glucose transporter (GLUTs) proteins have been found in patients with insulin resistance. To better understand the combined contribution of excessive salt and genetic defects to the etiology of the disease, it is essential to investigate the following question:
Question 1: Do variations in genes encoding the IRS -1 and -2 and/or genes encoding the GLUTs proteins predict high salt-induced insulin resistance in Dahl S rats?
A significant amount of evidence suggested that salt-induced oxidative stress might predict an inflammatory response that upregulates mediators of inflammation such as the nuclear factor- kappa B (NF-kappa B), the tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and the c-Jun Terminal Kinase (JNK). These inflammatory mediators disrupt the insulin signaling pathway and predispose to insulin resistance. Therefore, the following question will be thoroughly investigated:
Question 2: Do variations in genes encoding the NF-kappa B, the TNF-α and the JNK, independently or in synergy, predict an enhanced inflammatory response and subsequent insulin resistance in Dahl S rats in excessive salt environment?
Finally, to better understand the combined role of these variations on glucose metabolism, the following question will be addressed:
Question 3: What are the functional consequences of gene variations on the rate of glucose delivery, the rate of glucose transport and the rate of glucose phosphorylation in Dahl S rats?
The general hypothesis is that "high-salt diet in combination with defects in candidate genes along the insulin signaling and inflammatory pathways predicts susceptibility to high salt-induced insulin resistance in Dahl S rats".
PMCID: PMC2459151  PMID: 18570670
23.  Decreased AMP-activated protein kinase activity is associated with increased inflammation in visceral adipose tissue and with whole-body insulin resistance in morbidly obese humans 
Inflammation and infiltration of immune cells in white adipose tissue have been implicated in the development of obesity-associated insulin resistance. Likewise, dysregulation of the fuel-sensing enzyme AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) has been proposed as a pathogenetic factor for these abnormalities based on both its links to insulin action and its anti-inflammatory effects. In this study, we examined the relationships between AMPK activity, the expression of multiple inflammatory markers in visceral (mesenteric and omental) and abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue, and whole-body insulin sensitivity in morbidly obese patients (BMI 48 ± 1.9 kg/m2) undergoing gastric bypass surgery. AMPK activity was assessed by western-blots (P-AMPK/T-AMPK) and mRNA levels of various markers of inflammation by qRT-PCR. Patients were stratified as insulin sensitive obese or insulin resistant obese according to their HOMA-IR values. The results indicate that AMPK activity is lower in visceral than in subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue of these patients and that this is associated with an increased expression of multiple inflammatory genes. They also revealed that AMPK activity is lower in adipose tissue of obese patients who are insulin resistant (HOMA-IR > 2.3) than in BMI-matched insulin sensitive subjects. Furthermore, this difference was evident in all three fat depots. In conclusion, the data suggest that there are close links between reduced AMPK activity and inflammation in white adipose tissue, and whole-body insulin resistance in obese humans. Whether adipose tissue AMPK dysregulation is a causal factor for the development of the inflammation and insulin resistance remains to be determined.
PMCID: PMC3061625  PMID: 21130749
AMP-activated protein kinase; adipose tissue; humans; insulin sensitive obese; inflammation; insulin resistance
24.  Thrombospondin1 Deficiency Reduces Obesity-Associated Inflammation and Improves Insulin Sensitivity in a Diet-Induced Obese Mouse Model 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e26656.
Obesity is prevalent worldwide and is associated with insulin resistance. Advanced studies suggest that obesity-associated low-grade chronic inflammation contributes to the development of insulin resistance and other metabolic complications. Thrombospondin 1 (TSP1) is a multifunctional extracellular matrix protein that is up-regulated in inflamed adipose tissue. A recent study suggests a positive correlation of TSP1 with obesity, adipose inflammation, and insulin resistance. However, the direct effect of TSP1 on obesity and insulin resistance is not known. Therefore, we investigated the role of TSP1 in mediating obesity-associated inflammation and insulin resistance by using TSP1 knockout mice.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Male TSP1-/- mice and wild type littermate controls were fed a low-fat (LF) or a high-fat (HF) diet for 16 weeks. Throughout the study, body weight and fat mass increased similarly between the TSP1-/- mice and WT mice under HF feeding conditions, suggesting that TSP1 deficiency does not affect the development of obesity. However, obese TSP1-/- mice had improved glucose tolerance and increased insulin sensitivity compared to the obese wild type mice. Macrophage accumulation and inflammatory cytokine expression in adipose tissue were reduced in obese TSP1-/- mice. Consistent with the local decrease in pro-inflammatory cytokine levels, systemic inflammation was also decreased in the obese TSP1-/- mice. Furthermore, in vitro data demonstrated that TSP1 deficient macrophages had decreased mobility and a reduced inflammatory phenotype.
TSP1 deficiency did not affect the development of high-fat diet induced obesity. However, TSP1 deficiency reduced macrophage accumulation in adipose tissue and protected against obesity related inflammation and insulin resistance. Our data demonstrate that TSP1 may play an important role in regulating macrophage function and mediating obesity-induced inflammation and insulin resistance. These data suggest that TSP1 may serve as a potential therapeutic target to improve the inflammatory and metabolic complications of obesity.
PMCID: PMC3200349  PMID: 22039525
25.  Insulin continues to induce plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 gene expression in insulin-resistant mice and adipocytes. 
Molecular Medicine  2000;6(8):680-692.
BACKGROUND: Although the association between insulin resistance and cardiovascular risk is well established, the underlying molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. The antifibrinolytic molecule plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (PAI-1) is a cardiovascular risk factor that is consistently elevated in insulin-resistant states such as obesity and non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). The strong positive correlation between this elevated PAI-1 and the degree of hyperinsulinemia not only implicates insulin itself in this increase, but also suggests that PAI-1 is regulated by a pathway that does not become insulin resistant. The data in this report supports this hypothesis. MATERIALS AND METHODS: We show that insulin stimulates PAI-1 gene expression in metabolically insulin-resistant ob/ob mice and in insulin-resistant 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Moreover, we provide evidence that glucose transport and PAI-1 gene expression are mediated by different insulin signaling pathways. These observations suggest that the compensatory hyperinsulinemia that is frequently associated with insulin-resistant states, directly contribute to the elevated PAI-1. CONCLUSIONS: These results provide a potential mechanism for the abnormal increases in cardiovascular risk genes in obesity, NIDDM, and polycystic ovary disease.
PMCID: PMC1949975  PMID: 11055587

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