Background: CEACAM1 regulates insulin sensitivity by promoting insulin clearance. Accordingly, global C57BL/6J.Cc1-/- null mice display hyperinsulinemia due to impaired insulin clearance at 2 months of age, followed by insulin resistance, steatohepatitis, visceral obesity and leptin resistance at 6 months. The study aimed at investigating the primary role of hepatic CEACAM1 in insulin and lipid homeostasis independently of its metabolic effect in extra-hepatic tissues.
Methods: Liver-specific C57BL/6J.AlbCre+Cc1fl/fl mice were generated and their metabolic phenotype was characterized by comparison to that of their littermate controls at 2-9 months of age, using hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp analysis and indirect calorimetry. The effect of hyperphagia on insulin resistance was assessed by pair-feeding experiments.
Results: Liver-specific AlbCre+Cc1fl/fl mutants exhibited impaired insulin clearance and hyperinsulinemia at 2 months, followed by hepatic insulin resistance (assessed by hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp analysis) and steatohepatitis at ~ 7 months of age, at which point visceral obesity and hyperphagia developed, in parallel to hyperleptinemia and blunted hypothalamic STAT3 phosphorylation in response to an intraperitoneal injection of leptin. Hyperinsulinemia caused hypothalamic insulin resistance, followed by increased fatty acid synthase activity, which together with defective hypothalamic leptin signaling contributed to hyperphagia and reduced physical activity. Pair-feeding experiment showed that hyperphagia caused systemic insulin resistance, including blunted insulin signaling in white adipose tissue and lipolysis, at 8-9 months of age.
Conclusion: AlbCre+Cc1fl/fl mutants provide an in vivo demonstration of the key role of impaired hepatic insulin clearance and hyperinsulinemia in the pathogenesis of secondary hepatic insulin resistance independently of lipolysis. They also reveal an important role for the liver-hypothalamic axis in the regulation of energy balance and subsequently, systemic insulin sensitivity.
Keywords: Energy balance; Fatty acid synthase; Hyperinsulinemia; Hyperphagia; Insulin clearance; Insulin resistance.
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