Diacerhein improves glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity in mice on a high-fat diet

Natália Tobar, Alexandre G Oliveira, Dioze Guadagnini, Renata A Bagarolli, Guilherme Z Rocha, Tiago G Araújo, Junia C Santos-Silva, Ricardo L Zollner, Luiz H B Boechat, José B C Carvalheira, Patrícia O Prada, Mario J A Saad
Endocrinology 2011, 152 (11): 4080-93
Obesity and type 2 diabetes are characterized by insulin resistance, and the common basis of these events is a chronic and systemic inflammatory process marked by the activation of the c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and inhibitor-κB kinase (IKKβ)/nuclear factor-κB (NFκB) pathways, up-regulated cytokine synthesis, and endoplasmic reticulum dysfunction. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of diacerhein administration, an antiinflammatory drug that reduces the levels of inflammatory cytokines, on insulin sensitivity and signaling in diet-induced obese (DIO) mice. Swiss mice were fed with conventional chow (control group) or a high-fat diet (DIO group). Later, DIO mice were randomly subdivided into a new subgroup (DAR) that received 20 mg/kg diacerhein for 10 d. Western blotting was used to quantify the expression and phosphorylation of insulin receptor, insulin receptor substrate 1, and Akt and of inflammatory mediators that modulate insulin signaling in a negative manner (IKKβ, JNK, and inducible nitric oxide synthase). We show here, for the first time, that the administration of diacerhein in DIO mice improved endoplasmic reticulum stress, reduced JNK and IKKβ phosphorylation, and resulted in a marked improvement in fasting glucose, a decrease in macrophage infiltration in adipose tissue, and a reduced expression and activity of proinflammatory mediators accompanied by an improvement in the insulin signaling mainly in the liver and adipose tissue. Taken together, these results indicate that diacerhein treatment improves insulin sensitivity in obesity, mediated by the reversal of subclinical inflammation, and that this drug may be an alternative therapy for insulin resistance.

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