ACE type 2 (ACE2) functions as a negative regulator of the renin-angiotensin system by cleaving angiotensin II (AII) into angiotensin 1–7 (A1–7). This study assessed the role of endogenous ACE2 in maintaining insulin sensitivity. Twelve-week-old male ACE2 knockout (ACE2KO) mice had normal insulin sensitivities when fed a standard diet. AII infusion or a high-fat, high-sucrose (HFHS) diet impaired glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity more severely in ACE2KO mice than in their wild-type (WT) littermates. The strain difference in glucose tolerance was not eliminated by an AII receptor type 1 (AT1) blocker but was eradicated by A1–7 or an AT1 blocker combined with the A1–7 inhibitor (A779). The expression of GLUT4 and a transcriptional factor, myocyte enhancer factor (MEF) 2A, was dramatically reduced in the skeletal muscles of the standard diet–fed ACE2KO mice. The expression of GLUT4 and MEF2A was increased by A1–7 in ACE2KO mice and decreased by A779 in WT mice. A1–7 enhanced upregulation of MEF2A and GLUT4 during differentiation of myoblast cells. In conclusion, ACE2 protects against high-calorie diet–induced insulin resistance in mice. This mechanism may involve the transcriptional regulation of GLUT4 via an A1–7–dependent pathway.
- Received February 17, 2012.
- Accepted July 5, 2012.
- © 2013 by the American Diabetes Association.
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