1 Section for Integrative Physiology, Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet2 U1046, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM) - Université Montpellier 1 (UM1) - Université Montpellier 2 (UM2), Montpellier, France.3 Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Aix-Marseille Université4 Section for Integrative Physiology, Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Basic Metabolic Research, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Københavns Universitet
Obesity is associated with chronic low-grade inflammation and oxidative stress that blunt insulin response in its target tissues, leading to insulin resistance (IR). IR is a characteristic feature of type 2 diabetes. Skeletal muscle is responsible for 75% of total insulin-dependent glucose uptake; consequently, skeletal muscle IR is considered to be the primary defect of systemic IR development. Interestingly, some obese people stay insulin-sensitive and metabolically healthy. With the aim of understanding this difference and identifying the mechanisms responsible for insulin sensitivity maintenance/IR development during obesity, we explored the role of the latent endoribonuclease (RNase L) in skeletal muscle cells. RNase L is a regulator of innate immunity, of double-stranded RNA sensors and of toll-like receptor (TLR) 4 signaling. It is regulated during inflammation by interferons and its activity is dependent on its binding to 2-5A, an oligoadenylate synthesized by oligoadenylate synthetases (OAS). Increased expression of RNase L or downregulation of its inhibitor (RLI) improved insulin response in mouse myogenic C2C12 cells and in primary human myotubes from normal-weight subjects treated with palmitate, a saturated free fatty acid (FFA) known to induce inflammation and oxidative stress via TLR4 activation. While RNase L and RLI levels remained unchanged, OAS level was decreased in primary myotubes from insulin-resistant obese subjects (OB-IR) compared with myotubes from insulin-sensitive obese subjects (OB-IS). TLR3 and mitochondrial manganese superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) were also underexpressed in OB-IR myotubes. Activation of RNase L by 2-5A transfection allowed to restore insulin response, OAS, MnSOD and TLR3 expression in OB-IR myotubes. Due to low expression of OAS, OB-IR myotubes present a defect in RNase L activation and TLR3 regulation. Consequently, MnSOD level is low and insulin sensitivity is reduced. These results support that RNase L activity limits FFA/obesity-induced impairment of insulin response in muscle cells via TLR3 and MnSOD expression.