Adipokines have emerged as central mediators of insulin sensitivity and metabolism, in part due to the known association of obesity with metabolic syndrome disorders such as type 2 diabetes. Recent studies in rodents have identified the novel adipokine vaspin as playing a protective role in inflammatory metabolic diseases by functioning as a promoter of insulin sensitivity during metabolic stress. However, at present the skeletal muscle and adipose tissue expression of vaspin in humans is poorly characterised. Furthermore, the functional role of vaspin in skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity has not been studied. Since skeletal muscle is the major tissue for insulin-stimulated glucose uptake, understanding the functional role of vaspin in human muscle insulin signalling is critical in determining its role in glucose homeostasis. The objective of this study was to profile the skeletal muscle and subcutaneous adipose tissue expression of vaspin in humans of varying adiposity, and to determine the functional role of vaspin in mediating insulin signalling and glucose uptake in human skeletal muscle. Our data shows that vaspin is secreted from both human subcutaneous adipose tissue and skeletal muscle, and is more highly expressed in obese older individuals compared to lean older individuals. Furthermore, we demonstrate that vaspin induces activation of the PI3K/AKT axis, independent of insulin receptor activation, promotes GLUT4 expression and translocation and sensitises older obese human skeletal muscle to insulin-mediated glucose uptake.
Thomas Nicholson, Chris Church, Kostas Tsintzas, Robert Jones, Leigh Breen, Edward T Davis, David J Baker and Simon W Jones
Ricardo J Samms, Michelle Murphy, Maxine J Fowler, Scott Cooper, Paul Emmerson, Tamer Coskun, Andrew C Adams, Alexei Kharitonenkov, Francis J P Ebling and Kostas Tsintzas
The aim of this study was to investigate the mechanisms by which fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) affects hepatic integration of carbohydrate and fat metabolism in Siberian hamsters, a natural model of adiposity. Twelve aged matched adult male Siberian hamsters maintained in their long-day fat state since birth were randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups and were continuously infused with either vehicle (saline; n=6) or recombinant human FGF21 protein (1 mg/kg per day; n=6) for 14 days. FGF21 administration caused a 40% suppression (P<0.05) of hepatic pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC), the rate-limiting step in glucose oxidation, a 34% decrease (P<0.05) in hepatic acetylcarnitine accumulation, an index of reduced PDC flux, a 35% increase (P<0.05) in long-chain acylcarnitine content (an index of flux through β-oxidation) and a 47% reduction (P<0.05) in hepatic lipid content. These effects were underpinned by increased protein abundance of PD kinase-4 (PDK4, a negative regulator of PDC), the phosphorylated (inhibited) form of acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC, a negative regulator of delivery of fatty acids into the mitochondria) and the transcriptional co-regulators of energy metabolism peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma co-activator alpha (PGC1α) and sirtuin-1. These findings provide novel mechanistic basis to support the notion that FGF21 exerts profound metabolic benefits in the liver by modulating nutrient flux through both carbohydrate (mediated by a PDK4-mediated suppression of PDC activity) and fat (mediated by deactivation of ACC) metabolism, and therefore may be an attractive target for protection from increased hepatic lipid content and insulin resistance that frequently accompany obesity and diabetes.