Aims/hypothesis: Hepatic insulin resistance is thought to be a critical component in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes but the role of intrinsic insulin signalling pathways in the regulation of hepatic metabolism remains controversial. Global gene targeting in mice and in vitro studies have suggested that IRS2 mediates the physiological effects of insulin in the liver. Reduced hepatic production of IRS2 is found in many cases of insulin resistance. To investigate the role of IRS2 in regulating liver function in vivo, we generated mice that specifically lack Irs2 in the liver (LivIrs2KO). Materials and methods: Hepatic insulin signalling events were examined in LivIrs2KO mice by western blotting. Glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity were assessed by glucose tolerance tests and hyperinsulinaemic-euglycaemic clamp studies. The effects of high-fat feeding upon glucose homeostasis were also determined. Liver function tests were performed and expression of key metabolic genes in the liver was determined by RT-PCR. Results: Proximal insulin signalling events and forkhead box O1 and A2 function were normal in the liver of LivIrs2KO mice, which displayed minimal abnormalities in glucose and lipid homeostasis, hepatic gene expression and liver function. In addition, hepatic lipid homeostasis and the metabolic response to a high-fat diet did not differ between LivIrs2KO and control mice. Conclusions/interpretation: Our findings suggest that liver IRS2 signalling, surprisingly, is not required for the long-term maintenance of glucose and lipid homeostasis, and that extra-hepatic IRS2-dependent mechanisms are involved in the regulation of these processes.
- Insulin receptor substrate protein
- Insulin resistance
- Insulin signalling