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Endocrinology. 2018 Mar 1;159(3):1253-1263. doi: 10.1210/en.2017-00870.

FoxO1 Is Required for Most of the Metabolic and Hormonal Perturbations Produced by Hepatic Insulin Receptor Deletion in Male Mice.

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Division of Endocrinology, Boston Children's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.


Insulin coordinates the complex response to feeding, affecting numerous metabolic and hormonal pathways. Forkhead box protein O1 (FoxO1) is one of several signaling molecules downstream of insulin; FoxO1 drives gluconeogenesis and is suppressed by insulin. To determine the role of FoxO1 in mediating other actions of insulin, we studied mice with hepatic deletion of the insulin receptor, FoxO1, or both. We found that mice with deletion of the insulin receptor alone showed not only hyperglycemia but also a 70% decrease in plasma insulin-like growth factor 1 and delayed growth during the first 2 months of life, a 24-fold increase in the soluble leptin receptor and a 19-fold increase in plasma leptin levels. Deletion of the insulin receptor also produced derangements in fatty acid metabolism, with a decrease in the expression of the lipogenic enzymes, hepatic diglycerides, and plasma triglycerides; in parallel, it increased expression of the fatty acid oxidation enzymes. Mice with deletion of both insulin receptor and FoxO1 showed a much more modest phenotype, with normal or near-normal glucose levels, growth, leptin levels, hepatic diglycerides, and fatty acid oxidation gene expression; however, lipogenic gene expression remained low. Taken together, these data reveal the pervasive role of FoxO1 in mediating the effects of insulin on not only glucose metabolism but also other hormonal signaling pathways and even some aspects of lipid metabolism.

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