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J Endocrinol. 2005 Mar;184(3):481-92.

Prolonged insulin treatment inhibits GH signaling via STAT3 and STAT1.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Division of Molecular and Cellular Pathology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama 35294-0019, USA.


Growth hormone (GH) and insulin are important regulators of cellular and whole body metabolism as well as somatic growth and body composition. Studies have indicated complex feedback effects of GH on insulin action and of insulin on GH signaling pathways. Previous studies in our laboratory have shown that GH induction of signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT)5B tyrosine phosphorylation is inhibited by prolonged insulin treatment, probably via downregulation of GHR. Here, we find that in rat H4IIE hepatoma cells GH-induced tyrosine phosphorylation of two other STATs (STAT3 and STAT1) was also greatly reduced following prolonged insulin pretreatment compared with that induced by GH alone. In the present work, total STAT5B and STAT1 protein levels were not altered by prolonged insulin treatment. However, prolonged insulin treatment (16 h; 10 or 100 nM) resulted in a 30-40% reduction of total STAT3 protein, with little change at 0.1 and 1.0 nM insulin. Thus, there is a selective reduction of total STAT3 protein levels by insulin, but only at high concentration of insulin. Basal tyrosine phosphorylated (PY)-STAT3 was also significantly reduced by prolonged insulin treatment, and to a greater extent than total STAT3 protein levels. The inhibitory effect of insulin on total STAT3 protein and basal PY-STAT3 levels was dependent on activation of the MEK-ERK pathway, rather than the PI3K pathway. In contrast, the MEK-ERK pathway did not play a major role in insulin's inhibition of GH-induced PY-STAT3 and PY-STAT1. The present studies indicate that prolonged hyperinsulinemia, such as that found in some obese patients or patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus, may have profound effects on GH signaling via STAT3 and STAT1.

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