Suppressor of cytokine signaling-3 (SOCS-3), a potential mediator of interleukin-6-dependent insulin resistance in hepatocytes.
Interleukin-6 (IL-6) is one of several pro-inflammatory cytokines implicated in insulin resistance during infection, cachexia, and obesity. We recently demonstrated that IL-6 inhibits insulin signaling in hepatocytes (Senn, J. J., Klover, P. J., Nowak, I. A., and Mooney, R. A. (2002) Diabetes 51, 3391-3399). Members of the suppressors of cytokine signaling (SOCS) family associate with the insulin receptor (IR), and their ectopic expression inhibits IR signaling. Since several SOCS proteins are induced by IL-6, a working hypothesis is that IL-6-dependent insulin resistance is mediated, at least in part, by induction of SOCS protein(s) in insulin target cells. To examine the involvement of SOCS protein(s) in IL-6-dependent inhibition of insulin receptor signaling, HepG2 cells were treated with IL-6 (20 ng/ml) for periods from 1 min to 8 h. IL-6 induced SOCS-3 transcript at 30 min with a maximum effect at 1 h. SOCS-3 protein levels were also markedly elevated at 1 h. Transcript and protein levels returned to near basal levels by 2 h. SOCS-3 induction by IL-6 paralleled IL-6-dependent inhibition of IR signal transduction. Ectopically expressed SOCS-3 associated with the IR and suppressed insulin-dependent receptor autophosphorylation, insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1) tyrosine phosphorylation, association of IRS-1 with the p85 subunit of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, and activation of Akt. SOCS-3 was also a direct inhibitor of insulin receptor autophosphorylation in vitro. In mice exposed to IL-6 for 60-90 min, hepatic SOCS-3 expression was increased. This was associated with inhibition of hepatic insulin-dependent receptor autophosphorylation and IRS-1 tyrosine phosphorylation. These data suggest that induction of SOCS-3 in liver may be an important mechanism of IL-6-mediated insulin resistance.
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