Improved insulin sensitivity by calorie restriction is associated with reduction of ERK and p70S6K activities in the liver of obese Zucker rats

Yanbin Zheng, Wenshuo Zhang, Elisha Pendleton, Sanhua Leng, Jiong Wu, Ridong Chen, Xiao Jian Sun

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48 Scopus citations


Calorie restriction (CR) improves obesity-related insulin resistance through undefined molecular mechanisms. Insulin receptor substrate (IRS)-1 serine/threonine kinases have been proposed to modulate insulin sensitivity through phosphorylation of IRS proteins. The aim of this study is to test the hypothesis that changes in the activity of IRS1 serine/threonine kinases may underlie the molecular mechanism of CR in improving insulin sensitivity. Obese and lean Zucker rats were subjected to 40% CR or allowed to feed ad libitum (AL) for 20 weeks; body weight and insulin sensitivity were monitored throughout this period. The activity of IRS1 serine/threonine kinases - including JNK, ERK, MTOR/p70S6K (RPS6KB1 as listed in the MGI Database), glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3B), AMPK (PRKAA1 as listed in the MGI Database), and protein kinase Cθ (PRKCQ) in liver tissue extracts was measured by an in vitro kinase assay using various glutathione-S-transferase (GST)-IRS1 fragments as substrates, while phosphorylation of IRS1 and serine kinases was determined by western blotting using phosphospecific antibodies. CR in obese rats significantly reduced body weight and increased insulin sensitivity compared to AL controls. Serine kinase activity toward IRS1S612 (corresponding to S616 in human IRS1) and IRS1S632/635 (corresponding to S636/639 in human IRS1) was increased in obese rats compared to lean littermates, and was markedly decreased following CR. Concomitantly, obesity increased and CR decreased the activity of hepatic ERK and p70S6K against IRS1. The close association between the activity of hepatic ERK and p70S6K with insulin resistance suggests an important role for ERK and p70S6K in the development of insulin resistance, presumably via phosphorylation of IRS proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)337-347
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Endocrinology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2009


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology

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