Emerging evidence suggests that TLR (Toll-like receptor) 4 and downstream pathways [MAPKs (mitogen-activated protein kinases) and NF-κB (nuclear factor κB)] play an important role in the pathogenesis of insulin resistance. LPS (lipopolysaccharide) and saturated NEFA (non-esterified fatty acids) activate TLR4, and plasma concentrations of these TLR4 ligands are elevated in obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Our goals were to define the role of TLR4 on the insulin resistance caused by LPS and saturated NEFA, and to dissect the independent contribution of LPS and NEFA to the activation of TLR4-driven pathways by employing TAK-242, a specific inhibitor of TLR4. LPS caused robust activation of the MAPK and NF-κB pathways in L6 myotubes, along with impaired insulin signalling and glucose transport. TAK-242 completely prevented the inflammatory response (MAPK and NF-κB activation) caused by LPS, and, in turn, improved LPS-induced insulin resistance. Similar to LPS, stearate strongly activated MAPKs, although stimulation of the NF-κB axis was modest. As seen with LPS, the inflammatory response caused by stearate was accompanied by impaired insulin action. TAK-242 also blunted stearate-induced inflammation; yet, the protective effect conferred by TAK-242 was partial and observed only on MAPKs. Consequently, the insulin resistance caused by stearate was only partially improved by TAK-242. In summary, TAK-242 provides complete and partial protection against LPS- and NEFA-induced inflammation and insulin resistance, respectively. Thus, LPS-induced insulin resistance depends entirely on TLR4, whereas NEFA works through TLR4-dependent and -independent mechanisms to impair insulin action.
- Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)
- Nuclear factor κB (NF-κB)
- Saturated non-esterified fatty acid (NEFA)
- Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology