Cell selectivity in succinate receptor SUCNR1/GPR91 signaling in skeletal muscle

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2023 Apr 1;324(4):E289-E298. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00009.2023. Epub 2023 Feb 22.


Succinate is released by skeletal muscle during exercise and activates SUCNR1/GPR91. Signaling of SUCNR1 is involved in metabolite-sensing paracrine communication in skeletal muscle during exercise. However, the specific cell types responding to succinate and the directionality of communication are unclear. We aim to characterize the expression of SUCNR1 in human skeletal muscle. De novo analysis of transcriptomic datasets demonstrated that SUCNR1 mRNA is expressed in immune, adipose, and liver tissues, but scarce in skeletal muscle. In human tissues, SUCNR1 mRNA was associated with macrophage markers. Single-cell RNA sequencing and fluorescent RNAscope demonstrated that in human skeletal muscle, SUCNR1 mRNA is not expressed in muscle fibers but coincided with macrophage populations. Human M2-polarized macrophages exhibit high levels of SUCNR1 mRNA and stimulation with selective agonists of SUCNR1 triggered Gq- and Gi-coupled signaling. Primary human skeletal muscle cells were unresponsive to SUCNR1 agonists. In conclusion, SUCNR1 is not expressed in muscle cells and its role in the adaptive response of skeletal muscle to exercise is most likely mediated via paracrine mechanisms involving M2-like macrophages within the muscle.NEW & NOTEWORTHY Macrophages but not skeletal muscle cells respond to extracellular succinate via SUCNR1/GPR91.

Keywords: GPR91; SUCNR1; macrophage; skeletal muscle; succinate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Muscles / metabolism
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled* / genetics
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled* / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Succinic Acid* / metabolism


  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Succinic Acid
  • SUCNR1 protein, human