Excessive hepatic glucose production (HGP) contributes significantly to the hyperglycemia of type 2 diabetes; however, the molecular mechanism underlying this dysregulation remains poorly understood. Here, we show that fasting temporally increases the expression of H19 long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) in nondiabetic mouse liver, whereas its level is chronically elevated in diet-induced diabetic mice, consistent with the previously reported chronic hepatic H19 increase in diabetic patients. Importantly, liver-specific H19 overexpression promotes HGP, hyperglycemia, and insulin resistance, while H19 depletion enhances insulin-dependent suppression of HGP. Using genome-wide methylation and transcriptome analyses, we demonstrate that H19 knockdown in hepatic cells alters promoter methylation and expression of Hnf4a, a master gluconeogenic transcription factor, and that this regulation is recapitulated in vivo. Our findings offer a mechanistic explanation of lncRNA H19’s role in the pathogenesis of diabetic hyperglycemia and suggest that targeting hepatic H19 may hold the potential of new treatment for this disease.


Na Zhang, Tingting Geng, Zhangsheng Wang, Ruling Zhang, Tiefeng Cao, Joao Paulo Camporez, Shi-Ying Cai, Ya Liu, Luisa Dandolo, Gerald I. Shulman, Gordon G. Carmichael, Hugh S. Taylor, Yingqun Huang


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