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J Biol Chem. 2009 Oct 2;284(40):27090-100. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M109.016675. Epub 2009 Aug 4.

Insulin is a stronger inducer of insulin resistance than hyperglycemia in mice with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM).

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Division of Translational Biology, The Hamner Institutes for Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709, USA.


Subjects with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) eventually develop insulin resistance and other features of T2DM such as cardiovascular disorders. The exact mechanism has been not been completely understood. In this study, we tested the hypothesis that excessive or inappropriate exposure to insulin is a primary mediator of insulin resistance in T1DM. We found that continuous exposure of mice with non-obese diabetes to insulin detemir, which is similar to some current conventional treatment of human T1DM, induced severe insulin resistance, whereas untreated hyperglycemia for the same amount of time (2 weeks) did not cause obvious insulin resistance. Insulin resistance was accompanied by decreased mitochondrial production as evaluated by mitochondrial DNA and levels of transcripts and proteins of mitochondrion-associated genes, increased ectopic fat accumulation in liver and skeletal muscle (gastrocnemius) evaluated by measurements of triglyceride content, and elevated oxidative stress detected by the GSH/GSSG ratio. Prolonged exposure of cultured hepatocytes to insulin induced significant insulin resistance, whereas the same length of exposure to a high level of glucose (33 mm) did not cause obvious insulin resistance. Furthermore, our results showed that prolonged exposure to insulin caused oxidative stress, and blockade of mitochondrion-derived oxidative stress by overexpression of manganese-superoxide dismutase prevented insulin resistance induced by the prolonged exposure to insulin. Together, our results show that excessive exposure to insulin is a primary inducer of insulin resistance in T1DM in mice.

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