miR-27b Modulates Insulin Signaling in Hepatocytes by Regulating Insulin Receptor Expression

Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Nov 17;21(22):8675. doi: 10.3390/ijms21228675.


Insulin resistance (IR) is one of the key contributing factors in the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). However, the molecular mechanisms leading to IR are still unclear. The implication of microRNAs (miRNAs) in the pathophysiology of multiple cardiometabolic pathologies, including obesity, atherosclerotic heart failure and IR, has emerged as a major focus of interest in recent years. Indeed, upregulation of several miRNAs has been associated with obesity and IR. Among them, miR-27b is overexpressed in the liver in patients with obesity, but its role in IR has not yet been thoroughly explored. In this study, we investigated the role of miR-27b in regulating insulin signaling in hepatocytes, both in vitro and in vivo. Therefore, assessment of the impact of miR-27b on insulin resistance through the hepatic tissue is of special importance due to the high expression of miR-27b in the liver together with its known role in regulating lipid metabolism. Notably, we found that miR-27b controls post-transcriptional expression of numerous components of the insulin signaling pathway including the insulin receptor (INSR) and insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS1) in human hepatoma cells. These results were further confirmed in vivo showing that overexpression and inhibition of hepatic miR-27 enhances and suppresses hepatic INSR expression and insulin sensitivity, respectively. This study identified a novel role for miR-27 in regulating insulin signaling, and this finding suggests that elevated miR-27 levels may contribute to early development of hepatic insulin resistance.

Keywords: INRS; insulin signaling; miR-27b; microRNA; type 2 diabetes mellitus.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Hepatocytes / cytology
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / genetics
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin Receptor Substrate Proteins / genetics
  • Insulin Receptor Substrate Proteins / metabolism
  • MicroRNAs / genetics
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • Receptor, Insulin / genetics
  • Receptor, Insulin / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*


  • IRS1 protein, human
  • Insulin
  • Insulin Receptor Substrate Proteins
  • MIRN27b microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • Receptor, Insulin