Insulin-dependent regulation of mTORC2-Akt-FoxO suppresses TLR4 signaling in human leukocytes: Relevance to type 2 diabetes

Zhiyong Zhang, Louis F. Amorosa, Susette M. Coyle, Marie A. Macor, Morris J. Birnbaum, Leonard Y. Lee, Beatrice Haimovich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Leukocyte signaling in patients with systemic insulin resistance is largely unexplored. We recently discovered the presence of multiple Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) signaling intermediates in leukocytes from patients with type 2 diabetes or acute insulin resistance associated with cardiopulmonary bypass surgery. We extend this work to show that in addition to matrix metalloproteinase 9, hypoxiainducible factor 1α, and cleaved AMPKα, patient leukocytes also express IRS-1 phosphorylated on Ser312, Akt phosphorylated on Thr308, and elevated TLR4 expression. Similar signaling intermediates were detected in leukocytes and neutrophils treated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a ligand of TLR4, in vitro. In contrast, insulin, but not LPS, induced mammalian target of rapamycin complex 2 (mTORC2)-dependent phosphorylation of Akt on Ser473 and FoxO1/O3a on Thr24/32 in leukocytes and neutrophils. Insulin suppressed LPS-induced responses in a dose- and time-dependent manner. AS1842856, a FoxO1 inhibitor, also suppressed TLR4 signaling. We propose that insulin is a homeostatic regulator of leukocyte responses to LPS/TLR4 and that the signaling intermediates expressed in leukocytes of patients with type 2 diabetes indicate TLR4 signaling dominance and deficient insulin signaling. The data suggest that insulin suppresses LPS/TLR4 signals in leukocytes through the mTORC2-Akt-FoxO signaling axis. Better understanding of leukocyte signaling in patients with type 2 diabetes may shed new light on disease causation and progression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2224-2234
Number of pages11
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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