METRNL attenuates lipid-induced inflammation and insulin resistance via AMPK or PPARδ-dependent pathways in skeletal muscle of mice

Exp Mol Med. 2018 Sep 13;50(9):1-11. doi: 10.1038/s12276-018-0147-5.


Physical activity has many beneficial effects on metabolic disorders, such as obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes. Meteorin-like protein (METRNL), a novel secreted protein homologous to the neurotrophin Metrn, is induced after exercise in the skeletal muscle. Herein, we investigated the effects of METRNL on lipid-mediated inflammation and insulin resistance in skeletal muscle via AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) or peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor δ (PPARδ). Treatment with METRNL suppressed inflammatory markers, such as nuclear factor κB (NFκB) nuclear translocation, inhibitory κBα (IκBα) phosphorylation, interleukin-6 (IL-6) expression, and pro-inflammatory cytokines (such as TNFα and MCP-1). METRNL treatment also attenuated the impaired insulin response both in palmitate-treated differentiated C2C12 cells and the skeletal muscle of high-fat diet (HFD)-fed mice. Furthermore, METRNL administration rescued glucose intolerance and reduced HFD-induced body weight gain in mice; however, METRNL did not affect calorie intake. METRNL treatment increased AMPK phosphorylation and PPARδ expression both in differentiated C2C12 cells and mouse skeletal muscle. siRNA-mediated suppression of AMPK and PPARδ abrogated the suppressive effects of METRNL on palmitate-induced inflammation and insulin resistance. Moreover, METRNL augmented the mRNA expression of fatty acid oxidation-associated genes, such as carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1 (CPT1), acyl-CoA oxidase (ACO), and fatty acid binding protein 3 (FABP3). siRNAs for AMPK and PPARδ reversed these changes. In the current study, we report for the first time that METRNL alleviates inflammation and insulin resistance and induces fatty acid oxidation through AMPK or PPARδ-dependent signaling in skeletal muscle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Line
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress / drug effects
  • Hyperlipidemias / pathology
  • Inflammation / pathology*
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Lipids / toxicity*
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Muscle Cells / drug effects
  • Muscle Cells / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / drug effects
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology
  • Nerve Growth Factors / metabolism*
  • Nerve Growth Factors / pharmacology
  • PPAR delta / metabolism*
  • Palmitic Acid / toxicity
  • Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Gamma Coactivator 1-alpha / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction* / drug effects


  • Lipids
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • PPAR delta
  • Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor Gamma Coactivator 1-alpha
  • Ppargc1a protein, mouse
  • cometin protein, mouse
  • Palmitic Acid
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases