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PLoS One. 2017 Sep 15;12(9):e0184987. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0184987. eCollection 2017.

Receptor and post-receptor abnormalities contribute to insulin resistance in myotonic dystrophy type 1 and type 2 skeletal muscle.

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Laboratory of Muscle Histopathology and Molecular Biology, IRCCS-Policlinico San Donato, San Donato Milanese, Milan, Italy.
Department of Neurology, IRCCS-Policlinico San Donato, San Donato Milanese, Milan, Italy.
Department of Biomedical Sciences for Health, University of Milan, Milan, Italy.
Scientific Directorate, IRCCS Policlinico San Donato, San Donato Milanese, Milan, Italy.
Department of Biosciences, University of Milan, Milan, Italy.


Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) and type 2 (DM2) are autosomal dominant multisystemic disorders caused by expansion of microsatellite repeats. In both forms, the mutant transcripts accumulate in nuclear foci altering the function of alternative splicing regulators which are necessary for the physiological mRNA processing. Missplicing of insulin receptor (IR) gene (INSR) has been associated with insulin resistance, however, it cannot be excluded that post-receptor signalling abnormalities could also contribute to this feature in DM. We have analysed the insulin pathway in skeletal muscle biopsies and in myotube cultures from DM patients to assess whether downstream metabolism might be dysregulated and to better characterize the mechanism inducing insulin resistance. DM skeletal muscle exhibits alterations of basal phosphorylation levels of Akt/PKB, p70S6K, GSK3β and ERK1/2, suggesting that these changes might be accompanied by a lack of further insulin stimulation. Alterations of insulin pathway have been confirmed on control and DM myotubes expressing fetal INSR isoform (INSR-A). The results indicate that insulin action appears to be lower in DM than in control myotubes in terms of protein activation and glucose uptake. Our data indicate that post-receptor signalling abnormalities might contribute to DM insulin resistance regardless the alteration of INSR splicing.

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