Epidemiological and experimental studies have identified hyperinsulinemia as an important risk factor for breast cancer induction and for the poor prognosis in breast cancer patients with obesity and type 2 diabetes. Recently it was demonstrated that both the insulin receptor (IR) and the IGF-IR mediate hyperinsulinemia's mitogenic effect in several breast cancer models. Although IGF-IR has been intensively investigated, and anti-IGF-IR therapies are now in advanced clinical trials, the role of the IR in mediating hyperinsulinemia's mitogenic effect remains to be clarified. Here we aimed to explore the potential of IR inhibition compared to dual IR/IGF-IR blockade on breast tumor growth. To initiate breast tumors, we inoculated the mammary carcinoma Mvt-1 cell line into the inguinal mammary fat pad of the hyperinsulinemic MKR female mice, and to study the role of IR, we treated the mice bearing tumors with the recently reported high-affinity IR antagonist-S961, in addition to the well-documented IGF-IR inhibitor picropodophyllin (PPP). Although reducing IR activation, with resultant severe hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia, S961-treated mice had significantly larger tumors compared to the vehicle-treated group. This effect maybe secondary to the severe hyperinsulinemia mediated via the IGF-1 receptor. In contrast, PPP by partially inhibiting both IR and IGF-IR activity reduced tumor growth rate with only mild metabolic consequences. We conclude that targeting (even partially) both IR and IGF-IRs impairs hyperinsulinemia's effects in breast tumor development while simultaneously sparing the metabolic abnormalities observed when targeting IR alone with virtual complete inhibition.
Insulin can trigger metabolic as well as mitogenic effects, the latter being pharmaceutically undesirable. An understanding of the structure/function relationships between insulin receptor (IR) binding and mitogenic/metabolic signalling would greatly facilitate the preclinical development of new insulin analogues. The occurrence of ligand agonism and antagonism is well described for G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and other receptors but in general, with the exception of antibodies, not for receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs). In the case of the IR, no natural ligand or insulin analogue has been shown to exhibit antagonistic properties, with the exception of a crosslinked insulin dimer (B29-B'29). However, synthetic monomeric or dimeric peptides targeting sites 1 or 2 of the IR were shown to be either agonists or antagonists. We found here that the S961 peptide, previously described to be an IR antagonist, exhibited partial agonistic effects in the 1-10 nM range, showing altogether a bell-shaped dose-response curve. Intriguingly, the agonistic effects of S961 were seen only on mitogenic endpoints ((3)H-thymidine incorporation), and not on metabolic endpoints ((14)C-glucose incorporation in adipocytes and muscle cells). The agonistic effects of S961 were observed in 3 independent cell lines, with complete concordance between mitogenicity ((3)H-thymidine incorporation) and phosphorylation of the IR and Akt. Together with the B29-B'29 crosslinked dimer, S961 is a rare example of a mixed agonist/antagonist for the human IR. A plausible mechanistic explanation based on the bivalent crosslinking model of IR activation is proposed.
Impairment in the insulin receptor signaling and insulin mediated effects are the key features of type 2 diabetes. Here we report that S961, a peptide insulin receptor antagonist induces hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia ( approximately 18-fold), glucose intolerance and impairment in the insulin mediated glucose disposal in the Sprague-Dawley rats. Further, long-term S961 treatment (15day, 10nM/kg/day) depletes energy storage as evident from decrease in the adiposity and hepatic glycogen content. However, peroxysome-proliferator-activated-receptor-gamma (PPARgamma) agonist pioglitazone significantly (P<0.001) restored S961 induced hyperglycemia (196.73+/-16.32 vs. 126.37+/-27.07 mg/dl) and glucose intolerance (approximately 78%). Improvement in the hyperglycemia and glucose intolerance by pioglitazone clearly demonstrates that S961 treated rats can be successfully used to screen the novel therapeutic interventions having potential to improve glucose disposal through receptor independent mechanisms. Further, results of the present study reconfirms and provide direct evidence to the crucial role of insulin receptor signaling in the glucose homeostasis and fuel metabolism.
OBJECTIVE: Insulin released by the beta-cell is thought to act locally to regulate glucagon secretion. The possibility that insulin might also act centrally to modulate islet glucagon secretion has received little attention. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Initially the counterregulatory response to identical hypoglycemia was compared during intravenous insulin and phloridzin infusion in awake chronically catheterized nondiabetic rats. To explore whether the disparate glucagon responses seen were in part due to changes in ventromedial hypothalamus (VMH) exposure to insulin, bilateral guide cannulas were inserted to the level of the VMH and 8 days later rats received a VMH microinjection of either 1) anti-insulin affibody, 2) control affibody, 3) artificial extracellular fluid, 4) insulin (50 microU), 5) insulin receptor antagonist (S961), or 6) anti-insulin affibody plus a gamma-aminobutyric acid A (GABA(A)) receptor agonist muscimol, prior to a hypoglycemic clamp or under baseline conditions. RESULTS: As expected, insulin-induced hypoglycemia produced a threefold increase in plasma glucagon. However, the glucagon response was fourfold to fivefold greater when circulating insulin did not increase, despite equivalent hypoglycemia and C-peptide suppression. In contrast, epinephrine responses were not altered. The phloridzin-hypoglycemia induced glucagon increase was attenuated (40%) by VMH insulin microinjection. Conversely, local VMH blockade of insulin amplified glucagon twofold to threefold during insulin-induced hypoglycemia. Furthermore, local blockade of basal insulin levels or insulin receptors within the VMH caused an immediate twofold increase in fasting glucagon levels that was prevented by coinjection to the VMH of a GABA(A) receptor agonist. CONCLUSIONS: Together, these data suggest that insulin's inhibitory effect on alpha-cell glucagon release is in part mediated at the level of the VMH under both normoglycemic and hypoglycemic conditions.
In this publication we describe a peptide insulin receptor antagonist, S661, which is a single chain peptide of 43 amino acids. The affinity of S661 for the insulin receptor is comparable to that of insulin and the selectivity for the insulin receptor versus the IGF-1 receptor is higher than that of insulin itself. S661 is also an antagonist of the insulin receptor of other species such as pig and rat, and it also has considerable affinity for hybrid insulin/GF-1 receptors. S661 completely inhibits insulin action, both in cellular assays and in vivo in rats. A biosynthetic version called S961 which is identical to S661 except for being a C-terminal acid seems to have properties indistinguishable from those of S661. These antagonists provide a useful research tool for unraveling biochemical mechanisms involving the insulin receptor and could form the basis for treatment of hypoglycemic conditions.