GPR55 deficiency is associated with increased adiposity and impaired insulin signaling in peripheral metabolic tissues

FASEB J. 2019 Jan;33(1):1299-1312. doi: 10.1096/fj.201800171R. Epub 2018 Aug 27.


Emerging evidence indicates that G-protein coupled receptor 55 (GPR55), a nonclassic receptor of the endocannabinoid system that is activated by L-α-lysophosphatidylinositol and various cannabinoid ligands, may regulate endocrine function and energy metabolism. We examined how GPR55 deficiency and modulation affects insulin signaling in skeletal muscle, adipose tissue, and liver alongside expression analysis of proteins implicated in insulin action and energy metabolism. We show that GPR55-null mice display decreased insulin sensitivity in these tissues, as evidenced by reduced phosphorylation of PKB/Akt and its downstream targets, concomitant with increased adiposity and reduced physical activity relative to wild-type counterparts. Impaired tissue insulin sensitivity coincided with reduced insulin receptor substrate-1 abundance in skeletal muscle, whereas in liver and epididymal fat it was associated with increased expression of the 3-phosphoinoistide lipid phosphatase, phosphatase and tensin homolog. In contrast, GPR55 activation enhanced insulin signaling in cultured skeletal muscle cells, adipocytes, and hepatocytes; this response was negated by receptor antagonists and GPR55 gene silencing in L6 myotubes. Sustained GPR55 antagonism in 3T3-L1 adipocytes enhanced expression of proteins implicated in lipogenesis and promoted triglyceride accumulation. Our findings identify GPR55 as a positive regulator of insulin action and adipogenesis and as a potential therapeutic target for countering obesity-induced metabolic dysfunction and insulin resistance.-Lipina, C., Walsh, S. K., Mitchell, S. E., Speakman, J. R., Wainwright, C. L., Hundal, H. S. GPR55 deficiency is associated with increased adiposity and impaired insulin signaling in peripheral metabolic tissues.

Keywords: adipogenesis; cannabinoid receptor; endocannabinoid; liver; skeletal muscle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3-L1 Cells
  • Adipose Tissue / cytology
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Adiposity / genetics*
  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Liver / cytology
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Muscle, Skeletal / cytology
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid / genetics
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid / physiology*
  • Signal Transduction*


  • GPR55 protein, mouse
  • Insulin
  • Receptors, Cannabinoid
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt