Heat shock proteins induction reduces stress kinases activation, potentially improving insulin signalling in monocytes from obese subjects

Cell Stress Chaperones. 2012 Sep;17(5):615-21. doi: 10.1007/s12192-012-0336-4. Epub 2012 Mar 29.


Induction of heat shock proteins (Hsp) 72 and 27 can improve insulin signalling in obesity and type 2 diabetes via inhibition of key stress kinases. In metabolic disease, altered insulin signalling, as illustrated by increased serine phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate (IRS)-1 (Ser312), is not confined to muscle or liver and can also affect other tissues and cell types, potentially impairing their primary biological function. This study specifically investigated insulin-stimulated glucose metabolism in monocytes and examined the impact of HSP induction on insulin signalling. Control (CG, BMI < 25 kg/m(2)) or obese (OG, BMI > 30 kg/m(2)) participants were included in the study. Glucose transporter (GLUT)4 expression on monocytes, phosphorylated JNK, IKK-β and IRS-1, as well as Hsp27 and Hsp72, were measured in monocytes under fasting conditions. GLUT4 expression was also measured during an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). HSP induction as well as JNK, IKK-β activation and IRS-1 serine phosphorylation was investigated following heat stress. Obese patients showed lower GLUT4 levels on monocytes during the OGTT. pJNK, pIKK-β and pIRS-1 levels were increased in OG with pJNK and pIKK-β levels positively correlated with serine pIRS-1 and negatively with GLUT4 supporting their role in insulin resistance. Heat exposure induced Hsp72 and Hps27, but only in CG for the latter, and decreased pJNK, pIKK-β and pIRS-1. Our results show that induction of Hsp72 and 27 via heat stress is associated with inactivation of stress kinases and reduced serine pIRS-1 in monocytes from obese participants. This indicates that metabolic diseases can also affect monocyte metabolism via cellular stress that can be modulated via HSP induction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Glucose Transporter Type 4 / metabolism
  • HSP27 Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism
  • HSP72 Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • I-kappa B Kinase / metabolism
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin Receptor Substrate Proteins / metabolism
  • JNK Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monocytes / metabolism*
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Signal Transduction


  • Glucose Transporter Type 4
  • HSP27 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • HSP72 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Insulin
  • Insulin Receptor Substrate Proteins
  • I-kappa B Kinase
  • JNK Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Glucose