Objectives: Glucocorticoid treatment induces insulin resistance (IR), which is counteracted by a compensatory hyperinsulinemia, due to increased pancreatic β-cell function. There is evidence for also reduced hepatic insulin clearance, but whether this correlates with altered activity of insulin-degrading enzyme (IDE) in the liver, is not fully understood. Here, we investigated whether hyperinsulinemia, in glucocorticoid-treated rodents, is associated with any alteration in the insulin clearance and activity of the IDE in the liver.
Materials/methods: Adult male Swiss mice and Wistar rats were treated with the synthetic glucocorticoid dexamethasone intraperitoneally [1mg/kg body weight (b.w.)] for 5 consecutive days.
Results: Glucocorticoid treatment induced IR and hyperinsulinemia in both species, but was more impactful in rats that also displayed glucose intolerance and hyperglycemia. Insulin clearance was reduced in glucocorticoid-treated rats and mice, as judged by the reduction of insulin decay rate and increased insulin area-under-the-curve (47% and 87%, respectively). These results were associated with reduced activity (35%) of hepatic IDE in rats and a tendency to reduction (p=0.068) in mice, without alteration in hepatic IDE mRNA content, in both species.
Conclusion: In conclusion, the reduced insulin clearance in glucocorticoid-treated rodents was due to the reduction of hepatic IDE activity, at least in rats, which may contributes to the compensatory hyperinsulinemia. These findings corroborate the idea that short-term and/or partial inhibition of IDE activity in the liver could be beneficial for the glycemic control.
Keywords: Dexamethasone; Glucocorticoid; Glucose homeostasis; Insulin clearance; Insulin sensitivity; Insulin-degrading enzyme (IDE).
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