The relative expression patterns of the two IR (insulin receptor) isoforms, +/- exon 11 (IR-B/IR-A respectively), are tissue-dependent. Therefore we have developed insulin analogues with different binding affinities for the two isoforms to test whether tissue-preferential biological effects can be attained. In rats and mice, IR-B is the most prominent isoform in the liver (> 95%) and fat (> 90%), whereas in muscles IR-A is the dominant isoform (> 95%). As a consequence, the insulin analogue INS-A, which has a higher relative affinity for human IR-A, had a higher relative potency [compared with HI (human insulin)] for glycogen synthesis in rat muscle strips (26%) than for glycogen accumulation in rat hepatocytes (5%) and for lipogenesis in rat adipocytes (4%). In contrast, the INS-B analogue, which has an increased affinity for human IR-B, had higher relative potencies (compared with HI) for inducing glycogen accumulation (75%) and lipogenesis (130%) than for affecting muscle (45%). For the same blood-glucose-lowering effect upon acute intravenous dosing of mice, INS-B gave a significantly higher degree of IR phosphorylation in liver than HI. These in vitro and in vivo results indicate that insulin analogues with IR-isoform-preferential binding affinity are able to elicit tissue-selective biological responses, depending on IR-A/IR-B expression.
Biochemical Journal, 2011, Vol 440, Issue 3, p. 301-8