Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Diabetes, and Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, USA.
Address correspondence to: Allen M. Spiegel, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1300 Morris Park Avenue, Belfer 312, Bronx, New York 10461, USA. Phone: 718.430.2801; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
First published January 16, 2018 - More info
An increase in hepatic glucose production (HGP) is a key feature of type 2 diabetes. Excessive signaling through hepatic Gs–linked glucagon receptors critically contributes to pathologically elevated HGP. Here, we tested the hypothesis that this metabolic impairment can be counteracted by enhancing hepatic Gi signaling. Specifically, we used a chemogenetic approach to selectively activate Gi-type G proteins in mouse hepatocytes in vivo. Unexpectedly, activation of hepatic Gi signaling triggered a pronounced increase in HGP and severely impaired glucose homeostasis. Moreover, increased Gi signaling stimulated glucose release in human hepatocytes. A lack of functional Gi-type G proteins in hepatocytes reduced blood glucose levels and protected mice against the metabolic deficits caused by the consumption of a high-fat diet. Additionally, we delineated a signaling cascade that links hepatic Gi signaling to ROS production, JNK activation, and a subsequent increase in HGP. Taken together, our data support the concept that drugs able to block hepatic Gi–coupled GPCRs may prove beneficial as antidiabetic drugs.
Mario Rossi, Lu Zhu, Sara M. McMillin, Sai Prasad Pydi, Shanu Jain, Lei Wang, Yinghong Cui, Regina J. Lee, Amanda H. Cohen, Hideaki Kaneto, Morris J. Birnbaum, Yanling Ma, Yaron Rotman, Jie Liu, Travis J. Cyphert, Toren Finkel, Owen P. McGuinness, Jürgen Wess
Hepatic glucose production (HGP) is a key determinant of glucose homeostasis. Glucagon binding to its cognate seven-transmembrane Gs-coupled receptor in hepatocytes stimulates cAMP production, resulting in increased HGP. In this issue of the JCI, Rossi and colleagues tested the hypothesis that activation of hepatic Gi–coupled receptors, which should inhibit cAMP production, would oppose the cAMP-inducing action of glucagon and thereby decrease HGP. Surprisingly, however, the opposite occurred: activation of Gi signaling increased HGP via a novel mechanism, while inhibition of Gi signaling reduced HGP. These results define a new physiologic role for hepatic Gi signaling and identify a potential therapeutic target for HGP regulation.
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