Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), also known as adult-onset diabetes, is characterized by ineffective insulin action due to insulin resistance in key metabolic tissues. Insulin receptor (IR) plays an important role in insulin signal transduction, defect of which has been considered the fundamental cause of T2DM. IR content reduction in diabetes is one key contributor to the defective insulin signaling and diabetes progression. Rescuing IR levels by transgenic complementation has not been considered as a treatment option because it is limited by uncontrollable expression level, tissue selectivity, or developmental defects. In the current study, we demonstrated that single-dose adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector delivered expression of human IR (hIR) in the liver of inducible IR-knockout mice and significantly improved the diabetic phenotype caused by IR deletion during adulthood. Such an approach was also applied, for the first time to our knowledge, to treating ob/ob mice, a model of severe T2DM attributed to superfluous calorie intake and insulin resistance. Interestingly, similar treatment with AAV-hIR had no obvious effect in healthy animals, indicative of low hypoglycemic risk as a consequence of potential excessive insulin action. The results described here support restoration of IR expression as a safe and effective T2DM therapeutic with a long-lasting profile.
Yichen Wang, Heather Zhou, Oksana Palyha, James Mu