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World J Gastroenterol. 2013 Mar 14;19(10):1572-81. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v19.i10.1572.

Mitofusin-2 ameliorates high-fat diet-induced insulin resistance in liver of rats.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Hebei Medical University, Shijiazhuang 050017, Hebei Province, China.



To investigate the effects of mitofusin-2 (MFN2) on insulin sensitivity and its potential targets in the liver of rats fed with a high-fat diet (HFD).


Rats were fed with a control or HFD for 4 or 8 wk, and were then infected with a control or an MFN2 expressing adenovirus once a week for 3 wk starting from the 9(th) wk. Blood glucose (BG), plasma insulin and insulin sensitivity of rats were determined at end of the 4(th) and 8(th) wk, and after treatment with different amounts of MFN2 expressing adenovirus (10(8), 10(9) or 10(10) vp/kg body weight). BG levels were measured by Accu-chek Active Meter. Plasma insulin levels were analyzed by using a Rat insulin enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kit. Insulin resistance was evaluated by measuring the glucose infusion rate (GIR) using a hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamp technique. The expression or phosphorylation levels of MFN2 and essential molecules in the insulin signaling pathway, such as insulin receptor (INSR), insulin receptor substrate 2 (IRS2), phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K), protein kinase beta (AKT2) and glucose transporter type 2 (GLUT2) was assayed by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and Western-blotting.


After the end of 8 wk, the body weight of rats receiving the normal control diet (ND) and the HFD was not significantly different (P > 0.05). Compared with the ND group, GIR in the HFD group was significantly decreased (P < 0.01), while the levels of BG, triglycerides (TG), total cholesterol (TC) and insulin in the HFD group were significantly higher than those in the ND group (P < 0.05). Expression of MFN2 mRNA and protein in liver of rats was significantly down-regulated in the HFD group (P < 0.01) after 8 wk of HFD feeding. The expression of INSR, IRS2 and GLUT2 were down-regulated markedly (P < 0.01). Although there were no changes in PI3K-P85 and AKT2 expression, their phosphorylation levels were decreased significantly (P < 0.01). After intervention with MFN2 expressing adenovirus for 3 wk, the expression of MFN2 mRNA and protein levels were up-regulated (P < 0.01). There was no difference in body weight of rats between the groups. The levels of BG, TG, TC and insulin in rats were lower than those in the Ad group (P < 0.05), but GIR in rats infected with Ad-MFN2 was significantly increased (P < 0.01), compared with the Ad group. The expression of INSR, IRS2 and GLUT2 was increased, while phosphorylation levels of PI3K-P85 and AKT2 were increased (P < 0.01), compared with the Ad group.


HFDs induce insulin resistance, and this can be reversed by MFN2 over-expression targeting the insulin signaling pathway.


High-fat diet; Insulin pathway; Insulin resistance; Liver; Mitofusin-2

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