Delivery of adiponectin gene to skeletal muscle using ultrasound targeted microbubbles improves insulin sensitivity and whole body glucose homeostasis

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2013 Jan 15;304(2):E168-75. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00493.2012. Epub 2012 Nov 6.


Numerous studies have shown that adiponectin confers antidiabetic effects via both insulin-like and insulin-sensitizing actions. The majority of adiponectin in circulation is derived from adipocytes; however, other tissues such as skeletal muscle can produce adiponectin. This study was designed to investigate the functional significance of adiponectin produced by skeletal muscle. We encapsulated the adiponectin gene in lipid-coated microspheres filled with octafluoropropane gas that were injected into the systemic circulation and destroyed within the microvasculature of skeletal muscle using ultrasound. We first demonstrated safe and successful targeting of luciferase and green fluorescent protein reporter genes to skeletal muscle using this approach and then confirmed efficient overexpression of adiponectin mRNA and oligomeric protein forms. Glucose tolerance test indicated that overexpression of adiponectin in skeletal muscle was able to improve glucose intolerance induced by feeding mice a high-fat diet (HFD), and this correlated with improved skeletal muscle insulin signaling. We then performed hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp studies and demonstrated that adiponectin overexpression attenuated the decreases in glucose infusion rate, glucose disposal, and increase in glucose appearance induced by HFD. Ultrasound-targeted microbubble destruction (UTMD) delivery of adiponectin to skeletal muscle also enhanced serum adiponectin levels and improved hepatic insulin sensitivity. In conclusion, our data show that UTMD efficiently delivers adiponectin to skeletal muscle and that this improves insulin sensitivity and glucose homeostasis.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiponectin / genetics*
  • Adiponectin / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Gene Transfer Techniques*
  • Genetic Therapy / methods
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Glucose Clamp Technique
  • Glucose Intolerance / genetics
  • Glucose Intolerance / metabolism
  • Glucose Intolerance / therapy
  • Homeostasis / genetics
  • Homeostasis / physiology
  • Insulin Resistance / genetics*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microbubbles* / therapeutic use
  • Muscle, Skeletal / diagnostic imaging
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Organ Specificity / genetics
  • Ultrasonics / methods
  • Ultrasonography


  • Adiponectin
  • Adipoq protein, mouse
  • Glucose