TNF-α induces vascular insulin resistance via positive modulation of PTEN and decreased Akt/eNOS/NO signaling in high fat diet-fed mice

Rafael Menezes da Costa, Karla Bianca Neves, Fabíola Leslie Mestriner, Paulo Louzada-Junior, Thiago Bruder-Nascimento, Rita C Tostes
Cardiovascular Diabetology 2016 August 25, 15 (1): 119

BACKGROUND: High fat diet (HFD) induces insulin resistance in various tissues, including the vasculature. HFD also increases plasma levels of TNF-α, a cytokine that contributes to insulin resistance and vascular dysfunction. Considering that the enzyme phosphatase and tension homologue (PTEN), whose expression is increased by TNF-α, reduces Akt signaling and, consequently, nitric oxide (NO) production, we hypothesized that PTEN contributes to TNF-α-mediated vascular resistance to insulin induced by HFD. Mechanisms underlying PTEN effects were determined.

METHODS: Mesenteric vascular beds were isolated from C57Bl/6J and TNF-α KO mice submitted to control or HFD diet for 18 weeks to assess molecular mechanisms by which TNF-α and PTEN contribute to vascular dysfunction.

RESULTS: Vasodilation in response to insulin was decreased in HFD-fed mice and in ex vivo control arteries incubated with TNF-α. TNF-α receptors deficiency and TNF-α blockade with infliximab abolished the effects of HFD and TNF-α on insulin-induced vasodilation. PTEN vascular expression (total and phosphorylated isoforms) was increased in HFD-fed mice. Treatment with a PTEN inhibitor improved insulin-induced vasodilation in HFD-fed mice. TNF-α receptor deletion restored PTEN expression/activity and Akt/eNOS/NO signaling in HFD-fed mice.

CONCLUSION: TNF-α induces vascular insulin resistance by mechanisms that involve positive modulation of PTEN and inhibition of Akt/eNOS/NO signaling. Our findings highlight TNF-α and PTEN as potential targets to limit insulin resistance and vascular complications associated with obesity-related conditions.

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