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Nat Commun. 2015 May 12;6:7078. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8078.

Hepatic insulin signalling is dispensable for suppression of glucose output by insulin in vivo.

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Department of Medicine, Institute for Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.


Insulin signalling and nutrient levels coordinate the metabolic response to feeding in the liver. Insulin signals in hepatocytes to activate Akt, which inhibits Foxo1 suppressing hepatic glucose production (HGP) and allowing the transition to the postprandial state. Here we provide genetic evidence that insulin regulates HGP by both direct and indirect hepatic mechanisms. Liver-specific ablation of the IR (L-Insulin Receptor KO) induces glucose intolerance, insulin resistance and prevents the appropriate transcriptional response to feeding. Liver-specific deletion of Foxo1 (L-IRFoxo1DKO) rescues glucose tolerance and allows for normal suppression of HGP and gluconeogenic gene expression in response to insulin, despite lack of autonomous liver insulin signalling. These data indicate that in the absence of Foxo1, insulin signals via an intermediary extrahepatic tissue to regulate liver glucose production. Importantly, a hepatic mechanism distinct from the IR-Akt-Foxo1 axis exists to regulate glucose production.

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