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Role of methylglyoxal in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance



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Methylglyoxal (MG) is a reactive metabolite presents in all biological systems. The accumulation of MG in diabetic patients and animals has been long recognized. Recently, studies have shown that MG levels are elevated in hypertensive rats. However, the pathological effects of MG in diabetes and related insulin resistance syndrome such as obesity are currently unknown. In the present study, the role of MG in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance was investigated. First, it was observed that MG induced structural and functional changes of insulin. Incubation of human insulin with MG in vitro yielded MG-insulin adducts, as evidenced by additional peaks observed upon mass spectrometric (MS) analysis. Tandem MS analysis of insulin B-chain adducts confirmed attachment of MG at an arginine residue. [3H]-2-deoxyglucose uptake ([3H]-2-DOG) by 3T3-L1 adipocytes was significantly and concentration-dependently decreased after treatment with MG-insulin adducts, in comparison with the effect of native insulin at the same concentration. A significant decrease of glucose uptake induced by MG-insulin adducts was also observed in L8 skeletal muscle cells. Unlike native insulin, MG-insulin adducts did not inhibit insulin release from pancreatic â-cells. The degradation of MG-insulin by cultured liver cells was also decreased. In conclusion, MG modifies insulin by attaching to internal arginine residue in the â-chain of insulin. The formation of this MG-insulin adduct decreases insulin-mediated glucose uptake, impairs autocrine control of insulin secretion, and decreases insulin clearance. These structural and functional abnormalities of the insulin molecule may contribute to the pathogenesis of insulin resistance. Second, the effects of MG on the insulin signaling pathway were investigated. After 9 weeks of fructose treatment, an insulin resistant state was developed in Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats, demonstrated as increased triglyceride and insulin levels, elevated blood pressure, and decreased insulin-stimulated glucose uptake by adipose tissue. A close correlation between insulin resistance and the elevated MG accumulation in adipose and skeletal muscle tissues was observed. The insulin resistant state and the elevated MG level were reversed by the MG scavenger, N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) and metformin. In cultured adipose cells, MG treatment impaired insulin signaling as measured by decreased tyrosine phosphorylation of insulin-receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1) and the decreased kinase activity of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K). The ability of NAC to block MG-impairment of PI3K activity and IRS-1 phosphorylation further confirmed the role of MG in the development of insulin resistance. In cultured skeletal muscle cells, MG treatment significantly reduced the expression of IRS-1 and PI3K at the mRNA level. Similar to adipose cells, MG also decreased tyrosine phosphorylation of IRS-1 and PI3K activity. We also examined the mechanism of metformin to inhibit AGEs. Using mass spectrometry, stable metformin-MG adducts were identified. In addition, we investigated the causative effect of MG in the pathogenesis of obesity, another form of insulin resistance. This study revealed a previously unrecognized effect of MG in stimulating adipogenesis by up-regulating Akt signaling. In Zucker fatty rats, dramatically increased MG accumulations in serum and different tissues were identified. The serum MG level increased age. In 10 and 12 week-old obese rats, MG was 144±50% and 171±15% of the age-matched control Zucker rats; this value increased to 241±7 % and 329±10% by 14 and 16 weeks (P



Methylglyxoal, Insulin resistance, Obesity, Advanced glycation endproducts, Insulin signaling



Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)






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