Lipid Metabolism and Insulin Signalling in Adipocytes : enhanced autophagy in type 2 diabetes

Sammanfattning: Energy storage in the adipose tissue, to an extent leading to obesity, is associated with local as well assystemic insulin resistance. When insulin-producing beta-cells in the pancreas gradually fail tocompensate, plasma levels of glucose rise and overt type 2 diabetes is diagnosed. Adipocytes are largecells, mostly consisting of one big central lipid droplet, with the surrounding plasma membrane full ofsmall invaginations called caveolae. As caveolae contain the insulin receptor and several other insulinsignallingproteins, we have investigated several aspects of caveolae. We have also mapped mechanismsand defects in the insulin-signalling network in adipocytes from type 2 diabetic patients.In paper I, we show that a subtype of caveolae has the capability to synthesize triglycerides from fattyacids and glycerol-3-phosphate. The triglyceride-synthesizing caveolae subtype also contains perilipin,suggesting the existence of a mechanism to protect newly made triglycerides from hydrolysis.In paper II, we demonstrate that adipocytes from patients with type 2 diabetes have an attenuated insulinstimulatedphosphorylation of IRS-1 at Ser-307 (human sequence), which correlates with reduced insulinstimulatedphosphorylation of IRS-1 at tyrosine residues. Insulin-stimulated phosphorylation of IRS-1 atSer-307 is dependent on the nutrient sensor TORC1. This finding indicates that adipocytes from type 2diabetic patients have reduced TORC1 activity.In paper III, we focus on the mechanisms for RBP4-induced insulin resistance. We also continue ourmapping of insulin-resistance in adipocytes from type 2 diabetes. These cells exhibit, in addition toimpaired insulin-stimulated glucose uptake and the defects presented in paper I, impaired insulinstimulatedphosphorylation of ERK. We do, however, not see any defects in PKB signalling. Neither dowe se any enhanced insulin-stimulated phosphorylation of IRS-1 at Ser-312 (human sequence), a site thatin mice is hyper-stimulated in response to high-fat feeding. Incubation with RBP4 recapitulates all defectswe so far have seen in type 2 diabetes except reduced insulin-stimulated glucose uptake. These results aremirrored by blockade of endogenously produced RBP4 in the incubations with adipocytes from type 2diabetic patients. In other words, RBP4-blocking antibodies restore all insulin-signalling defects we havefound in adipocytes from type 2 diabetic patients, except insulin-stimulated glucose uptake.In paper IV we show by several approaches that TORC1 activation is down-regulated in adipocytes fromtype 2 diabetic patients. The main finding is that there is enhanced autophagy in those adipocytes.Interestingly, autophagy may be a mechanism to enhance the breakdown of stored triglycerides in theadipocyte.In conclusion, our data suggest that caveolae, in addition to being micro-domains for insulin-signallingare metabolic platforms. We describe defects in insulin-signalling in adipocytes from type 2 diabeticpatients where the main finding is enhanced autophagy in these obese patients. The perceived starvationin adipose tissue might via secretion of adipokines, such as RBP4, have implications for local as well assystemic insulin-resistance.