Deficiency of Cbl-b Gene Enhances Infiltration and Activation of Macrophages in Adipose Tissue and Causes Peripheral Insulin Resistance in Mice

  1. Katsuya Hirasaka1,
  2. Shohei Kohno1,
  3. Jumpei Goto1,
  4. Harumi Furochi1,
  5. Kazuaki Mawatari2,
  6. Nagakatsu Harada2,
  7. Toshio Hosaka2,
  8. Yutaka Nakaya2,
  9. Kazumi Ishidoh3,
  10. Toshiyuki Obata4,
  11. Yousuke Ebina4,
  12. Hua Gu5,
  13. Shin'ichi Takeda6,
  14. Kyoichi Kishi1 and
  15. Takeshi Nikawa1
  1. 1Department of Nutritional Physiology, Institute of Health Biosciences, The University of Tokushima Graduate School, Tokushima, Japan
  2. 2Department of Nutrition and Metabolism, Institute of Health Biosciences, The University of Tokushima Graduate School, Tokushima, Japan
  3. 3Institute for Health Sciences, Tokushima Bunri University, Tokushima, Japan
  4. 4Division of Molecular Genetics, The Institute for Enzyme Research, The University of Tokushima, Tokushima, Japan
  5. 5Department of Microbiology, Columbia University, New York, New York
  6. 6National Institute of Neuroscience, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry, Tokyo, Japan
  1. Address correspondence and reprint requests to Takeshi Nikawa, MD, PhD, Department of Nutritional Physiology, Institute of Health Biosciences, The University of Tokushima Graduate School, 3-18-15 Kuramoto-cho, Tokushima 770-8503, Japan. E-mail: nikawa{at}


OBJECTIVE—c-Cbl plays an important role in whole-body fuel homeostasis by regulating insulin action. In the present study, we examined the role of Cbl-b, another member of the Cbl family, in insulin action.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—C57BL/6 (Cbl-b+/+) or Cbl-b-deficient (Cbl-b−/−) mice were subjected to insulin and glucose tolerance tests and a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp test. Infiltration of macrophages into white adipose tissue (WAT) was assessed by immunohistochemistry and flow cytometry. We examined macrophage activation using co-cultures of 3T3-L1 adipocytes and peritoneal macrophages.

RESULTS—Elderly Cbl-b−/− mice developed glucose intolerance and peripheral insulin resistance; serum insulin concentrations after a glucose challenge were always higher in elderly Cbl-b−/− mice than age-matched Cbl-b+/+ mice. Deficiency of the Cbl-b gene significantly decreased the uptake of 2-deoxyglucose into WAT and glucose infusion rate, whereas fatty liver was apparent in elderly Cbl-b−/− mice. Cbl-b deficiency was associated with infiltration of macrophages into the WAT and expression of cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-6, and monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1. Co-culture of Cbl-b−/− macrophages with 3T3-L1 adipocytes induced leptin expression and dephosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate 1, leading to impaired glucose uptake in adipocytes. Furthermore, Vav1, a key factor in macrophage activation, was highly phosphorylated in peritoneal Cbl-b−/− macrophages compared with Cbl-b+/+ macrophages. Treatment with a neutralizing anti–MCP-1 antibody improved peripheral insulin resistance and macrophage infiltration into WAT in elderly Cbl-b−/− mice.

CONCLUSIONS—Cbl-b is a negative regulator of macrophage infiltration and activation, and macrophage activation by Cbl-b deficiency contributes to the peripheral insulin resistance and glucose intolerance via cytokines secreted from macrophages.


  • Published ahead of print at on 29 June 2007. DOI: 10.2337/db06-1768.

  • Additional information for this article can be found in an online appendix at

  • The costs of publication of this article were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. This article must therefore be hereby marked “advertisement” in accordance with 18 U.S.C. Section 1734 solely to indicate this fact.

    • Accepted June 27, 2007.
    • Received December 24, 2006.
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  1. Diabetes vol. 56 no. 10 2511-2522
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