Endocrinology and Metabolism


Tribbles homolog 3 (TRIB3) was found to inhibit insulin-stimulated Akt phosphorylation and modulate gluconeogenesis in rodent liver. Currently, we examined a role for TRIB3 in skeletal muscle insulin resistance. Ten insulin-sensitive, ten insulin-resistant, and ten untreated type 2 diabetic (T2DM) patients were metabolically characterized by hyperinsulinemic euglycemic glucose clamps, and biopsies of vastus lateralis were obtained. Skeletal muscle samples were also collected from rodent models including streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats, db/db mice, and Zucker fatty rats. Finally, L6 muscle cells were used to examine regulation of TRIB3 by glucose, and stable cell lines hyperexpressing TRIB3 were generated to identify mechanisms underlying TRIB3-induced insulin resistance. We found that 1) skeletal muscle TRIB3 protein levels are significantly elevated in T2DM patients; 2) muscle TRIB3 protein content is inversely correlated with glucose disposal rates and positively correlated with fasting glucose; 3) skeletal muscle TRIB3 protein levels are increased in STZ-diabetic rats, db/db mice, and Zucker fatty rats; 4) stable TRIB3 hyperexpression in muscle cells blocks insulin-stimulated glucose transport and glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4) translocation and impairs phosphorylation of Akt, ERK, and insulin receptor substrate-1 in insulin signal transduction; and 5) TRIB3 mRNA and protein levels are increased by high glucose concentrations, as well as by glucose deprivation in muscle cells. These data identify TRIB3 induction as a novel molecular mechanism in human insulin resistance and diabetes. TRIB3 acts as a nutrient sensor and could mediate the component of insulin resistance attributable to hyperglycemia (i.e., glucose toxicity) in diabetes.

  • glucose toxicity
  • type 2 diabetes
  • insulin signaling


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