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Diabetes. 2011 Jul;60(7):1872-81. doi: 10.2337/db11-0248. Epub 2011 May 20.

Suppression of FoxO1 activity by long-chain fatty acyl analogs.

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  • 1Department of Human Nutrition and Metabolism, Hebrew University Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel.



Overactivity of the Forkhead transcription factor FoxO1 promotes diabetic hyperglycemia, dyslipidemia, and acute-phase response, whereas suppression of FoxO1 activity by insulin may alleviate diabetes. The reported efficacy of long-chain fatty acyl (LCFA) analogs of the MEDICA series in activating AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and in treating animal models of diabesity may indicate suppression of FoxO1 activity.


The insulin-sensitizing and anti-inflammatory efficacy of a MEDICA analog has been verified in guinea pig and in human C-reactive protein (hCRP) transgenic mice, respectively. Suppression of FoxO1 transcriptional activity has been verified in the context of FoxO1- and STAT3-responsive genes and compared with suppression of FoxO1 activity by insulin and metformin.


Treatment with MEDICA analog resulted in total body sensitization to insulin, suppression of lipopolysaccharide-induced hCRP and interleukin-6-induced acute phase reactants and robust decrease in FoxO1 transcriptional activity and in coactivation of STAT3. Suppression of FoxO1 activity was accounted for by its nuclear export by MEDICA-activated AMPK, complemented by inhibition of nuclear FoxO1 transcriptional activity by MEDICA-induced C/EBPβ isoforms. Similarly, insulin treatment resulted in nuclear exclusion of FoxO1 and further suppression of its nuclear activity by insulin-induced C/EBPβ isoforms. In contrast, FoxO1 suppression by metformin was essentially accounted for by its nuclear export by metformin-activated AMPK.


Suppression of FoxO1 activity by MEDICA analogs may partly account for their antidiabetic anti-inflammatory efficacy. FoxO1 suppression by LCFA analogs may provide a molecular rational for the beneficial efficacy of carbohydrate-restricted ketogenic diets in treating diabetes.

© 2011 by the American Diabetes Association.

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