Catestatin Improves Insulin Sensitivity by Attenuating Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress: In vivo and in silico Validation

Comput Struct Biotechnol J. 2020 Feb 22;18:464-481. doi: 10.1016/j.csbj.2020.02.005. eCollection 2020.


Obesity is characterized by a state of chronic, unresolved inflammation in insulin-targeted tissues. Obesity-induced inflammation causes accumulation of proinflammatory macrophages in adipose tissue and liver. Proinflammatory cytokines released from tissue macrophages inhibits insulin sensitivity. Obesity also leads to inflammation-induced endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and insulin resistance. In this scenario, based on the data (specifically patterns) generated by our in vivo experiments on both diet-induced obese (DIO) and normal chow diet (NCD) mice, we developed an in silico state space model to integrate ER stress and insulin signaling pathways. Computational results successfully followed the experimental results for both DIO and NCD conditions. Chromogranin A (CgA) peptide catestatin (CST: hCgA 352 - 372 ) improves obesity-induced hepatic insulin resistance by reducing inflammation and inhibiting proinflammatory macrophage infiltration. We reasoned that the anti-inflammatory effects of CST would alleviate ER stress. CST decreased obesity-induced ER dilation in hepatocytes and macrophages. On application of Proportional-Integral-Derivative (PID) controllers on the in silico model, we checked whether the reduction of phosphorylated PERK resulting in attenuation of ER stress, resembling CST effect, could enhance insulin sensitivity. The simulation results clearly pointed out that CST not only decreased ER stress but also enhanced insulin sensitivity in mammalian cells. In vivo experiment validated the simulation results by depicting that CST caused decrease in phosphorylation of UPR signaling molecules and increased phosphorylation of insulin signaling molecules. Besides simulation results predicted that enhancement of AKT phosphorylation helps in both overcoming ER stress and achieving insulin sensitivity. These effects of CST were verified in hepatocyte culture model.

Keywords: Catestatin; Chromogranin A; Endoplasmic reticulum stress; Insulin sensitivity; Obesity; PID controller.