Brain metabolic and functional alterations in a liver-specific PTEN knockout mouse model

PLoS One. 2018 Sep 20;13(9):e0204043. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0204043. eCollection 2018.


Insulin resistance-as observed in aging, diabetes, obesity, and other pathophysiological situations, affects brain function, for insulin signaling is responsible for neuronal glucose transport and control of energy homeostasis and is involved in the regulation of neuronal growth and synaptic plasticity. This study investigates brain metabolism and function in a liver-specific Phosphatase and Tensin Homologue (Pten) knockout mouse model (Liver-PtenKO), a negative regulator of insulin signaling. The Liver-PtenKO mouse model showed an increased flux of glucose into the liver-thus resulting in an overall hypoglycemic and hypoinsulinemic state-and significantly lower hepatic production of the ketone body beta-hydroxybutyrate (as compared with age-matched control mice). The Liver-PtenKO mice exhibited increased brain glucose uptake, improved rate of glycolysis and flux of metabolites in the TCA cycle, and improved synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus. Brain slices from both control- and Liver-PtenKO mice responded to the addition of insulin (in terms of pAKT/AKT levels), thereby neglecting an insulin resistance scenario. This study underscores the significance of insulin signaling in brain bioenergetics and function and helps recognize deficits in diseases associated with insulin resistance.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / drug effects
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin / pharmacology
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / genetics*
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / metabolism
  • Phenotype
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Insulin
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase
  • Glucose