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Diabetes. 2011 Dec;60(12):3265-70. doi: 10.2337/db11-0162. Epub 2011 Oct 7.

Decreased IRS2 and TIMP3 expression in monocytes from offspring of type 2 diabetic patients is correlated with insulin resistance and increased intima-media thickness.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy.



In humans, it is unclear if insulin resistance at the monocyte level is associated with atherosclerosis in vivo. Here we have studied first-degree relatives of patients with type 2 diabetes to investigate whether a reduction in components of the insulin signal transduction pathways, such as the insulin receptor (InsR) or InsR substrate 1 or 2 (IRS1 or IRS2), or a reduction in genetic modifiers of insulin action, such as the TIMP3/ADAM17 (tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 3/A disintegrin and metalloprotease domain 17) pathway, is associated with evidence of atherosclerosis.


Insulin sensitivity was analyzed through euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp, and subclinical atherosclerosis was analyzed through intimal medial thickness. Monocytes were isolated through magnetic cell sorting, and mRNA and proteins were extracted and analyzed by quantitative PCR and pathscan enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, respectively.


In monocyte cells from human subjects with increased risk for diabetes and atherosclerosis, we found that gene expression, protein levels, and tyrosine phosphorylation of IRS2, but not InsR or IRS1, were decreased. TIMP3 was also reduced, along with insulin resistance, resulting in increased ectodomain shedding activity of the metalloprotease ADAM17.


Systemic insulin resistance and subclinical atherosclerosis are associated with decreased IRS2 and TIMP3 expression in circulating monocytes.

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