11{beta}-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 regulates glucocorticoid-induced insulin resistance in skeletal muscle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Stuart Morgan
  • C Lenaghan
  • D Laber
  • A Yu
  • G Convey
  • R Mayers
  • K Hegyi
  • JK Sethi
  • DM Smith
  • Jeremy Tomlinson


OBJECTIVE: Glucocorticoid excess is characterized by increased adiposity, skeletal myopathy, and insulin resistance, but the precise molecular mechanisms are unknown. Within skeletal muscle, 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11beta-HSD1) converts cortisone (11-dehydrocorticosterone in rodents) to active cortisol (corticosterone in rodents). We aimed to determine the mechanisms underpinning glucocorticoid-induced insulin resistance in skeletal muscle and indentify how 11beta-HSD1 inhibitors improve insulin sensitivity. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Rodent and human cell cultures, whole-tissue explants, and animal models were used to determine the impact of glucocorticoids and selective 11beta-HSD1 inhibition upon insulin signaling and action. RESULTS: Dexamethasone decreased insulin-stimulated glucose uptake, decreased IRS1 mRNA and protein expression, and increased inactivating pSer\(^{307}\) insulin receptor substrate (IRS)-1. 11beta-HSD1 activity and expression were observed in human and rodent myotubes and muscle explants. Activity was predominantly oxo-reductase, generating active glucocorticoid. A1 (selective 11beta-HSD1 inhibitor) abolished enzyme activity and blocked the increase in pSer\(^{307}\) IRS1 and reduction in total IRS1 protein after treatment with 11DHC but not corticosterone. In C57Bl6/J mice, the selective 11beta-HSD1 inhibitor, A2, decreased fasting blood glucose levels and improved insulin sensitivity. In KK mice treated with A2, skeletal muscle pSer\(^{307}\) IRS1 decreased and pThr\(^{308}\) Akt/PKB increased. In addition, A2 decreased both lipogenic and lipolytic gene expression. CONCLUSIONS: Prereceptor facilitation of glucocorticoid action via 11beta-HSD1 increases pSer\(^{307}\) IRS1 and may be crucial in mediating insulin resistance in skeletal muscle. Selective 11beta-HSD1 inhibition decreases pSer\(^{307}\) IRS1, increases pThr\(^{308}\) Akt/PKB, and decreases lipogenic and lipolytic gene expression that may represent an important mechanism underpinning their insulin-sensitizing action.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2506-2515
Number of pages10
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 12 Aug 2009