Research highlight

A microRNA that regulates insulin resistance

Nature Cell Biology

March 28, 2011

MicroRNA (miR)-143 is upregulated in livers of obese mice, and blocking miR-143 expression prevents the development of obesity-associated insulin resistance reports a paper online this week in Nature Cell Biology. Insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes remain major public health obstacles, and identifying the causes of these diseases and new avenues for therapeutic intervention are important goals.

Jens Bruning and colleagues detected high expression of miR-143 in the liver of a mouse model of diabetes, as well as in mice fed a high-fat diet. They showed that enforced expression of miR-143 caused insulin resistance, which led to impaired glucose metabolism. Conversely, depletion of miR-143 improved insulin sensitivity in obese mice.

The authors went on to identify the target of miR-143 and elucidate the signalling pathway through which miR-143 expression induces insulin resistance. These findings uncover an intriguing pathway that regulates glucose homeostasis and uncover potential new targets for the development of therapeutics for obesity-associated insulin resistance.

doi: 10.1038/ncb2211

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