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Type 2 diabetes (T2D) has become a major health problem worldwide. Skeletal muscle (SKM) is the key tissue for whole-body glucose disposal and utilization. New drugs aimed at improving insulin sensitivity of SKM would greatly expand available therapeutic options. β-arrestin-1 and -2 (Barr1 and Barr2, respectively) are two intracellular proteins best known for their ability to mediate the desensitization and internalization of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). Recent studies suggest that Barr1 and Barr2 regulate several important metabolic functions including insulin release and hepatic glucose production. Since SKM expresses many GPCRs, including the metabolically important β2-adrenergic receptor, the goal of this study was to examine the potential roles of Barr1 and Barr2 in regulating SKM and whole-body glucose metabolism. Using SKM-specific knockout (KO) mouse lines, we showed that the loss of SKM Barr2, but not of SKM Barr1, resulted in mild improvements in glucose tolerance in diet-induced obese mice. SKM-specific Barr1- and Barr2-KO mice did not show any significant differences in exercise performance. However, lack of SKM Barr2 led to increased glycogen breakdown following a treadmill exercise challenge. Interestingly, mice that lacked both Barr1 and Barr2 in SKM showed no significant metabolic phenotypes. Thus, somewhat surprisingly, our data indicate that SKM β-arrestins play only rather subtle roles (SKM Barr2) in regulating whole-body glucose homeostasis and SKM insulin sensitivity.
BACKGROUND - Aerobic exercise training is known to have beneficial effects on whole-body glucose metabolism in people with type 2 diabetes (T2D). The responses of the liver to such training are less well understood. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of aerobic exercise training on splanchnic glucose uptake (SGU) and insulin-mediated suppression of endogenous glucose production (EGP) in obese subjects with T2D.
METHODS - Participants included 11 obese humans with T2D, who underwent 15 ± 2 weeks of aerobic exercise training (AEX; n = 6) or remained sedentary for 15 ± 1 weeks (SED; n = 5). After an initial screening visit, each subject underwent an oral glucose load clamp and an isoglycemic/two-step (20 and 40 mU/m/min) hyperinsulinemic clamp (ISO-clamp) to assess SGU and insulin-mediated suppression of EGP, respectively. After the intervention period, both tests were repeated.
RESULTS - In AEX, the ability of insulin to suppress EGP was improved during both the low (69 ± 9 and 80 ± 6% suppression; pre-post, respectively; p < 0.05) and high (67 ± 6 and 82 ± 4% suppression, respectively; p < 0.05) insulin infusion periods. Despite markedly improved muscle insulin sensitivity, SGU was reduced in AEX after training (22.9 ± 3.3 and 9.1 ± 6.0 g pre-post in AEX, respectively; p < 0.05).
CONCLUSIONS - In obese T2D subjects, exercise training improves whole-body glucose metabolism, in part, by improving insulin-mediated suppression of EGP and enhancing muscle glucose uptake, which occur despite reduced SGU during an oral glucose challenge.
Bile acids are involved in the emulsification and absorption of dietary fats, as well as acting as signaling molecules. Recently, bile acid signaling through farnesoid X receptor and G protein-coupled bile acid receptor (TGR5) has been reported to elicit changes in not only bile acid synthesis but also metabolic processes, including the alteration of gluconeogenic gene expression and energy expenditure. A role for bile acids in glucose metabolism is also supported by a correlation between changes in the metabolic state of patients (i.e., obesity or postbariatric surgery) and altered serum bile acid levels. However, despite evidence for a role for bile acids during metabolically challenging settings, the direct effect of elevated bile acids on insulin action in the absence of metabolic disease has yet to be investigated. The present study examines the impact of acutely elevated plasma bile acid levels on insulin sensitivity using hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamps. In wild-type mice, elevated bile acids impair hepatic insulin sensitivity by blunting the insulin suppression of hepatic glucose production. The impaired hepatic insulin sensitivity could not be attributed to TGR5 signaling, as TGR5 knockout mice exhibited a similar inhibition of insulin suppression of hepatic glucose production. Canonical insulin signaling pathways, such as hepatic PKB (or Akt) activation, were not perturbed in these animals. Interestingly, bile acid infusion directly into the portal vein did not result in an impairment in hepatic insulin sensitivity. Overall, the data indicate that acute increases in circulating bile acids in lean mice impair hepatic insulin sensitivity via an indirect mechanism.
Maintenance hemodialysis (MHD) patients display significant nutritional abnormalities. Insulin is an anabolic hormone with direct effects on skeletal muscle (SM). We examined the anabolic actions of insulin, whole-body (WB), and SM protein turnover in 33 MHD patients and 17 participants without kidney disease using hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic-euaminoacidemic (dual) clamp. Gluteal muscle biopsies were obtained before and after the dual clamp. At baseline, WB protein synthesis and breakdown rates were similar in MHD patients. During dual clamp, controls had a higher increase in WB protein synthesis and a higher suppression of WB protein breakdown compared with MHD patients, resulting in statistically significantly more positive WB protein net balance [2.02 (interquartile range [IQR]: 1.79 and 2.36) vs. 1.68 (IQR: 1.46 and 1.91) mg·kg fat-free mass·min for controls vs. for MHD patients, respectively, P < 0.001]. At baseline, SM protein synthesis and breakdown rates were higher in MHD patients versus controls, but SM net protein balance was similar between groups. During dual clamp, SM protein synthesis increased statistically significantly more in controls compared with MHD patients ( P = 0.03), whereas SM protein breakdown decreased comparably between groups. SM net protein balance was statistically significantly more positive in controls compared with MHD patients [67.3 (IQR: 46.4 and 97.1) vs. 15.4 (IQR: -83.7 and 64.7) μg·100 ml·min for controls and MHD patients, respectively, P = 0.03]. Human SM biopsy showed a positive correlation between glucose and leucine disposal rates, phosphorylated AKT to AKT ratio, and muscle mitochondrial markers in controls but not in MHD patients. Diminished response to anabolic actions of insulin in the stimulated setting could lead to muscle wasting in MHD patients.
BACKGROUND - The natriuretic peptide hormones play an important role in salt and blood pressure regulation. In observational studies, obesity and insulin resistance have been consistently associated with lower concentrations of natriuretic peptides. It has been proposed that insulin influences natriuretic peptide production.
OBJECTIVE - We sought to determine the acute effects of insulin administration on natriuretic peptide concentrations.
METHODS - 31 men and women (11 lean, 10 overweight, and 10 obese), ages 30-70 years, without cardiovascular disease or overt diabetes underwent a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic insulin clamp. Plasma concentrations of N-terminal pro atrial natriuretic peptide (NT-proANP) and N-terminal pro B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) were measured at baseline and steady-state (the final 30 minutes of the clamp protocol).
RESULTS - From baseline to steady-state, insulin levels increased from a mean level of 9.5 to 176.7 μU/ml (p<0.001). Over this period, circulating NT-proANP concentrations decreased by 9% (-1933 ng/L, p = 0.01). The changes in NT-proANP did not differ between lean, overweight, and obese individuals. Steady-state NT-proANP levels, adjusted for baseline, were lower in individuals with greater insulin resistance, independent of BMI. In contrast to NT-proANP, NT-proBNP levels did not change significantly during the clamp (p = 0.41).
CONCLUSION - Insulin administration was associated with a moderate decrease in circulating NT-proANP, but not NT-proBNP. The lowest NT-proANP concentrations were found in insulin-resistant individuals. Further investigations are warranted to elucidate potential mechanisms underlying the effects of insulin on the cardiac hormonal axis.
Before insulin can stimulate myocytes to take up glucose, it must first move from the circulation to the interstitial space. The continuous endothelium of skeletal muscle (SkM) capillaries restricts insulin's access to myocytes. The mechanism by which insulin crosses this continuous endothelium is critical to understand insulin action and insulin resistance; however, methodological obstacles have limited understanding of endothelial insulin transport in vivo. Here, we present an intravital microscopy technique to measure the rate of insulin efflux across the endothelium of SkM capillaries. This method involves development of a fully bioactive, fluorescent insulin probe, a gastrocnemius preparation for intravital microscopy, an automated vascular segmentation algorithm, and the use of mathematical models to estimate endothelial transport parameters. We combined direct visualization of insulin efflux from SkM capillaries with modeling of insulin efflux kinetics to identify fluid-phase transport as the major mode of transendothelial insulin efflux in mice. Model-independent experiments demonstrating that insulin movement is neither saturable nor affected by insulin receptor antagonism supported this result. Our finding that insulin enters the SkM interstitium by fluid-phase transport may have implications in the pathophysiology of SkM insulin resistance as well as in the treatment of diabetes with various insulin analogs.
The contribution of hormone-independent counterregulatory signals in defense of insulin-induced hypoglycemia was determined in adrenalectomized, overnight-fasted conscious dogs receiving hepatic portal vein insulin infusions at a rate 20-fold basal. Either euglycemia was maintained () or hypoglycemia (≈45 mg/dl) was allowed to occur. There were three hypoglycemic groups: one in which hepatic autoregulation against hypoglycemia occurred in the absence of sympathetic nervous system input (), one in which autoregulation occurred in the presence of norepinephrine (NE) signaling to fat and muscle (), and one in which autoregulation occurred in the presence of NE signaling to fat, muscle, and liver (). Average net hepatic glucose balance (NHGB) during the last hour for was -0.7 ± 0.1, 0.3 ± 0.1 ( < 0.01 vs. ), 0.7 ± 0.1 ( = 0.01 vs. ), and 0.8 ± 0.1 ( = 0.7 vs. ) mg·kg·min, respectively. Hypoglycemia per se () increased NHGB by causing an inhibition of net hepatic glycogen synthesis. NE signaling to fat and muscle () increased NHGB further by mobilizing gluconeogenic precursors resulting in a rise in gluconeogenesis. Lowering glucose per se decreased nonhepatic glucose uptake by 8.9 mg·kg·min, and the addition of increased neural efferent signaling to muscle and fat blocked glucose uptake further by 3.2 mg·kg·min The addition of increased neural efferent input to liver did not affect NHGB or nonhepatic glucose uptake significantly. In conclusion, even in the absence of increases in counterregulatory hormones, the body can defend itself against hypoglycemia using glucose autoregulation and increased neural efferent signaling, both of which stimulate hepatic glucose production and limit glucose utilization.
Copyright © 2017 the American Physiological Society.
AIMS - Ghrelin is a gastric-derived hormone that stimulates growth hormone (GH) secretion and has a multi-faceted role in the regulation of energy homeostasis, including glucose metabolism. Circulating ghrelin concentrations are modulated in response to nutritional status, but responses to ghrelin in altered metabolic states are poorly understood. We investigated the metabolic effects of ghrelin in obesity and early after Roux-en-Y gastric bypass (RYGB).
MATERIALS AND METHODS - We assessed central and peripheral metabolic responses to acyl ghrelin infusion (1 pmol kg min ) in healthy, lean subjects (n = 9) and non-diabetic, obese subjects (n = 9) before and 2 weeks after RYGB. Central responses were assessed by GH and pancreatic polypeptide (surrogate for vagal activity) secretion. Peripheral responses were assessed by hepatic and skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity during a hyperinsulinaemic-euglycaemic clamp.
RESULTS - Ghrelin-stimulated GH secretion was attenuated in obese subjects, but was restored by RYGB to a response similar to that of lean subjects. The heightened pancreatic polypeptide response to ghrelin infusion in the obese was attenuated after RYGB. Hepatic glucose production and hepatic insulin sensitivity were not altered by ghrelin infusion in RYGB subjects. Skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity was impaired to a similar degree in lean, obese and post-RYGB individuals in response to ghrelin infusion.
CONCLUSIONS - These data suggest that obesity is characterized by abnormal central, but not peripheral, responsiveness to ghrelin that can be restored early after RYGB before significant weight loss. Further work is necessary to fully elucidate the role of ghrelin in the metabolic changes that occur in obesity and following RYGB.
© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
The liver extracellular matrix (ECM) expands with high-fat (HF) feeding. This finding led us to address whether receptors for the ECM, integrins, are key to the development of diet-induced hepatic insulin resistance. Integrin-linked kinase (ILK) is a downstream integrin signaling molecule involved in multiple hepatic processes, including those related to differentiation, wound healing, and metabolism. We tested the hypothesis that deletion of ILK in mice on an HF diet would disrupt the ECM-integrin signaling axis, thereby preventing the transformation into the insulin-resistant liver. To determine the role of ILK in hepatic insulin action in vivo, male C57BL/6J ILK mice were crossed with Albcre mice to produce a hepatocyte-specific ILK deletion (ILKAlbcre). Results from this study show that hepatic ILK deletion has no effect on insulin action in lean mice but sensitizes the liver to insulin during the challenge of HF feeding. This effect corresponds to changes in the expression and activation of key insulin signaling pathways as well as a greater capacity for hepatic mitochondrial glucose oxidation. This demonstrates that ILK contributes to hepatic insulin resistance and highlights the previously undefined role of integrin signaling in the pathogenesis of diet-induced hepatic insulin resistance.
© 2017 by the American Diabetes Association.
The chronic inflammatory state that accompanies obesity is a major contributor to insulin resistance and other dysfunctional adaptations in adipose tissue. Cellular and secreted factors promote the inflammatory milieu of obesity, but the transcriptional pathways that drive these processes are not well described. Although the canonical inflammatory transcription factor NF-κB is considered to be the major driver of adipocyte inflammation, members of the interferon regulatory factor (IRF) family may also play a role in this process. Here, we determined that IRF3 expression is upregulated in the adipocytes of obese mice and humans. Signaling through TLR3 and TLR4, which lie upstream of IRF3, induced insulin resistance in murine adipocytes, while IRF3 knockdown prevented insulin resistance. Furthermore, improved insulin sensitivity in IRF3-deficient mice was associated with reductions in intra-adipose and systemic inflammation in the high fat-fed state, enhanced browning of subcutaneous fat, and increased adipose expression of GLUT4. Taken together, the data indicate that IRF3 is a major transcriptional regulator of adipose inflammation and is involved in maintaining systemic glucose and energy homeostasis.