Indirect Regulation of Endogenous Glucose Production by Insulin: The Single Gateway Hypothesis Revisited

On the basis of studies that investigated the intraportal versus systemic insulin infusion and transendothelial transport of insulin, we proposed the “single gateway hypothesis,” which supposes an indirect regulation of hepatic glucose production by insulin; the rate-limiting transport of insulin across the adipose tissue capillaries is responsible for the slow suppression of free fatty acids (FFAs), which in turn is responsible for delayed suppression of hepatic endogenous glucose production (EGP) during insulin infusion. Preventing the fall in plasma FFAs during insulin infusion either by administering intralipids or by inhibiting adipose tissue lipolysis led to failure in EGP suppression, thus supporting our hypothesis. More recently, mice lacking hepatic Foxo1 in addition to Akt1 and Akt2 (L-AktFoxo1TKO), all required for insulin signaling, surprisingly showed normal glycemia. Inhibiting the fall of plasma FFAs in these mice prevented the suppression of EGP during a clamp, reaffirming that the site of insulin action to control EGP is extrahepatic. Measuring whole-body turnover rates of glucose and FFAs in L-AktFoxo1TKO mice also confirmed that hepatic EGP was regulated by insulin-mediated control of FFAs. The knockout mouse model in combination with sophisticated molecular techniques confirmed our physiological findings and the single gateway hypothesis.

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