Endoplasmic reticulum chaperone GRP78 regulates macrophage function and insulin resistance in diet-induced obesity

FASEB J. 2018 Apr;32(4):2292-2304. doi: 10.1096/fj.201701017R. Epub 2018 Jan 5.


Obesity-mediated inflammation is a major cause of insulin resistance, and macrophages play an important role in this process. The 78-kDa glucose-regulated protein (GRP78) is a major endoplasmic reticulum chaperone that modulates unfolded protein response (UPR), and mice with GRP78 heterozygosity were resistant to diet-induced obesity. Here, we show that mice with macrophage-selective ablation of GRP78 (Lyz- GRP78-/-) are protected from skeletal muscle insulin resistance without changes in obesity compared with wild-type mice after 9 wk of high-fat diet. GRP78-deficient macrophages demonstrated adapted UPR with up-regulation of activating transcription factor (ATF)-4 and M2-polarization markers. Diet-induced adipose tissue inflammation was reduced, and bone marrow-derived macrophages from Lyz- GRP78-/- mice demonstrated a selective increase in IL-6 expression. Serum IL-13 levels were elevated by >4-fold in Lyz- GRP78-/- mice, and IL-6 stimulated the myocyte expression of IL-13 and IL-13 receptor. Lastly, recombinant IL-13 acutely increased glucose metabolism in Lyz- GRP78-/- mice. Taken together, our data indicate that GRP78 deficiency activates UPR by increasing ATF-4, and promotes M2-polarization of macrophages with a selective increase in IL-6 secretion. Macrophage-derived IL-6 stimulates the myocyte expression of IL-13 and regulates muscle glucose metabolism in a paracrine manner. Thus, our findings identify a novel crosstalk between macrophages and skeletal muscle in the modulation of obesity-mediated insulin resistance.-Kim, J. H., Lee, E., Friedline, R. H., Suk, S., Jung, D. Y., Dagdeviren, S., Hu, X., Inashima, K., Noh, H. L., Kwon, J. Y., Nambu, A., Huh, J. R., Han, M. S., Davis, R. J., Lee, A. S., Lee, K. W., Kim, J. K. Endoplasmic reticulum chaperone GRP78 regulates macrophage function and insulin resistance in diet-induced obesity.

Keywords: glucose metabolism; inflammation; unfolded protein response.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activating Transcription Factor 4 / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum Chaperone BiP
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism*
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Interleukin-13 / genetics
  • Interleukin-13 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-6 / genetics
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism
  • Macrophages / cytology
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Muscle Cells / metabolism
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Unfolded Protein Response


  • Atf4 protein, mouse
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum Chaperone BiP
  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Hspa5 protein, mouse
  • Interleukin-13
  • Interleukin-6
  • Activating Transcription Factor 4
  • Glucose