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Antioxid Redox Signal. 2007 Mar;9(3):319-29.

Nitrosative stress and pathogenesis of insulin resistance.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesia & Critical Care, Massachusetts General Hospital, Shriners Hospital for Children, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, Massachusetts 02129, USA.


Insulin resistance is a major causative factor for type 2 diabetes and is associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Despite intense investigation for a number of years, molecular mechanisms underlying insulin resistance remain to be determined. Recently, chronic inflammation has been highlighted as a culprit for obesity-induced insulin resistance. Nonetheless, upstream regulators and downstream effectors of chronic inflammation in insulin resistance remain unclarified. Inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), a mediator of inflammation, has emerged as an important player in insulin resistance. Obesity is associated with increased iNOS expression in insulin-sensitive tissues in rodents and humans. Inhibition of iNOS ameliorates obesity-induced insulin resistance. However, molecular mechanisms by which iNOS mediates insulin resistance remain largely unknown. Protein S-nitrosylation, a covalent attachment of NO moiety to thiol sulfhydryls, has emerged as a major mediator of a broad array of NO actions. S-nitrosylation is elevated in patients with type 2 diabetes, and increased S-nitrosylation of insulin signaling molecules, including insulin receptor, insulin receptor substrate-1, and Akt/PKB, has been shown in skeletal muscle of obese, diabetic mice. Akt/PKB is reversibly inactivated by S-nitrosylation. Based on these findings, S-nitrosylation has recently been proposed to play an important role in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance.

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