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J Clin Invest. 2001 May;107(9):1193-202.

Chronic endothelin-1 treatment leads to heterologous desensitization of insulin signaling in 3T3-L1 adipocytes.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093-0673, USA.


We recently reported that insulin and endothelin-1 (ET-1) can stimulate GLUT4 translocation via the heterotrimeric G protein G alpha q/11 and through PI3-kinase--mediated pathways in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Because both hormones stimulate glucose transport through a common downstream pathway, we determined whether chronic ET-1 pretreatment would desensitize these cells to acute insulin signaling. We found that ET-1 pretreatment substantially inhibited insulin-stimulated 2-deoxyglucose uptake and GLUT4 translocation. Cotreatment with the ETA receptor antagonist BQ 610 prevented these effects, whereas inhibitors of G alpha i or G beta gamma were without effect. Chronic ET-1 treatment inhibited insulin-stimulated tyrosine phosphorylation of G alpha q/11 and IRS-1, as well as their association with PI3-kinase and blocked the activation of PI3-kinase activity and phosphorylation of AKT: In addition, chronic ET-1 treatment caused IRS-1 degradation, which could be blocked by inhibitors of PI3-kinase or p70 S6-kinase. Similarly, expression of a constitutively active G alpha q mutant, but not the wild-type G alpha q, led to IRS-1 degradation and inhibited insulin-stimulated phosphorylation of IRS-1, suggesting that the ET-1-induced decrease in IRS-1 depends on G alpha q/11 and PI3-kinase. Insulin-stimulated tyrosine phosphorylation of SHC was also reduced in ET-1 treated cells, resulting in inhibition of the MAPK pathway. In conclusion, chronic ET-1 treatment of 3T3-L1 adipocytes leads to heterologous desensitization of metabolic and mitogenic actions of insulin, most likely through the decreased tyrosine phosphorylation of the insulin receptor substrates IRS-1, SHC, and G alpha q/11.

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