Fetuin inhibits insulin-induced insulin receptor (IR) autophosphorylation and tyrosine kinase activity in vitro, in intact cells, and in vivo. The fetuin gene (AHSG) is located on human chromosome 3q27, recently identified as a susceptibility locus for type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome. Here, we explore insulin signaling, glucose homeostasis, and the effect of a high-fat diet on weight gain, body fat composition, and glucose disposal in mice carrying two null alleles for the gene encoding fetuin, Ahsg (B6, 129-Ahsgtm1Mbl). Fetuin knockout (KO) mice demonstrate increased basal and insulin-stimulated phosphorylation of IR and the down-stream signaling molecules mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and Akt in liver and skeletal muscle. Glucose and insulin tolerance tests in fetuin KO mice indicate significantly enhanced glucose clearance and insulin sensitivity. Fetuin KO mice subjected to euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp show augmented sensitivity to insulin, evidenced by increased glucose infusion rate (P = 0.077) and significantly increased skeletal muscle glycogen content (P < 0.05). When fed a high-fat diet, fetuin KO mice are resistant to weight gain, demonstrate significantly decreased body fat, and remain insulin sensitive. These data suggest that fetuin may play a significant role in regulating postprandial glucose disposal, insulin sensitivity, weight gain, and fat accumulation and may be a novel therapeutic target in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and other insulin-resistant conditions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism