Int J Biol Sci 2019; 15(13):2815-2829. doi:10.7150/ijbs.31781 This issue
1. Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Shanghai General Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China.
2. Shanghai Intertek Medical diagnostic Testing Center Co; Ltd, Shanghai 200436, China.
3. School of Pharmaceutical Engineering& Life Science, Changzhou University, Changzhou, 213164 China.
* These authors contributed equally to this study.
Objective: Recent studies demonstrate circulating serum spexin levels are reduced in obesity or type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) patients and may play a role in glucose metabolism. The mechanism underlying is not known. In this study, we explore whether spexin has a role in insulin resistance and hepatic glucose metabolism.
Methods: The correlation between serum spexin levels and the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) was studied in newly diagnosed T2DM patients. After intraperitoneal injection of exogenous spexin for 8 weeks, the effect of spexin on exogenous glucose infusion rates (GIR), and hepatic glucose production (HGP) were assessed by extended hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp in high-fat-diet (HFD)-induced rats. Glucose concentration with CRISPR/Cas9-mediated disruption of spexin expression in HepG2 cells culture was observed. Expression of transcription factors (Forkhead box O1, FoxO1 and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-alpha, PGC-1α) and key enzymes (G-6-Pase and PEPCK) of gluconeogenesis pathway were observed in vitro and in vivo.
Results: The serum spexin level was significantly low in newly diagnosed T2DM patients as compared with healthy patients and significantly negatively correlated with the HOMA-IR values. Exogenous spexin treatment resulted in weight loss and decrease of HOMA-IR value in high-fat-diet (HFD)-induced rats. The exogenous glucose infusion rates (GIR) were higher in the HFD + spexin group than that in the HFD group (358 ± 32 vs. 285 ± 24 μmol/kg/min, P < 0.05). Steady-state hepatic glucose production (HGP) was also suppressed by ~50% in the HFD + spexin group as compared with that in the HFD group. Furthermore, spexin inhibited gluconeogenesis in dose-dependent and time-dependent manner in the insulin-resistant cell model. CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knockdown of spexin in HepG2 cells activated gluconeogenesis. Moreover, spexin was shown regulating gluconeogenesis by inhibiting FoxO1/PGC-1α pathway, and key gluconeogenic enzymes, (PEPCK and G-6-Pase) in both HFD-induced rats and insulin-resistant cells.
Conclusions: Spexin plays an important role in insulin resistance in HFD-induced rats and insulin-resistant cells. Regulation of the effects of spexin on insulin resistance may hold therapeutic value for metabolic diseases.
Keywords: spexin, insulin resistance, hepatic gluconeogenesis, FoxO1