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Diabetes. 2013 Feb;62(2):411-23. doi: 10.2337/db12-0135. Epub 2012 Nov 8.

Neuronal androgen receptor regulates insulin sensitivity via suppression of hypothalamic NF-κB-mediated PTP1B expression.

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George Whipple Laboratory for Cancer Research, Department of Pathology, and the Wilmot Cancer Center, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York, USA.


Clinical investigations highlight the increased incidence of metabolic syndrome in prostate cancer (PCa) patients receiving androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). Studies using global androgen receptor (AR) knockout mice demonstrate that AR deficiency results in the development of insulin resistance in males. However, mechanisms by which AR in individual organs coordinately regulates insulin sensitivity remain unexplored. Here we tested the hypothesis that functional AR in the brain contributes to whole-body insulin sensitivity regulation and to the metabolic abnormalities developed in AR-deficient male mice. The mouse model selectively lacking AR in the central nervous system and AR-expressing GT1-7 neuronal cells were established and used to delineate molecular mechanisms in insulin signaling modulated by AR. Neuronal AR deficiency leads to reduced insulin sensitivity in middle-aged mice. Neuronal AR regulates hypothalamic insulin signaling by repressing nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB)-mediated induction of protein-tyrosine phosphatase 1B (PTP1B). Hypothalamic insulin resistance leads to hepatic insulin resistance, lipid accumulation, and visceral obesity. The functional deficiency of AR in the hypothalamus leads to male mice being more susceptible to the effects of high-fat diet consumption on PTP1B expression and NF-κB activation. These findings suggest that in men with PCa undergoing ADT, reduction of AR function in the brain may contribute to insulin resistance and visceral obesity. Pharmacotherapies targeting neuronal AR and NF-κB may be developed to combat the metabolic syndrome in men receiving ADT and in elderly men with age-associated hypogonadism.

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