Opioid μ-receptors as new target for insulin resistance.

TitleOpioid μ-receptors as new target for insulin resistance.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsCheng K-C, Asakawa A, Li Y-X, Liu I-M, Amitani H, Cheng J-T, Inui A
JournalPharmacology & therapeutics
Date Published2013 Sep

Type-2 diabetes is one of the fastest growing public health problems worldwide resulting from both environmental and genetic factors. Activation of μ-opioid receptor (MOR) could result in reversal of the impairment of insulin-stimulated glucose disposal in genetically obese Zucker rats via exercise training. This improvement of insulin resistance was associated with an elevation of circulating β-endorphin to ameliorate the post-receptor insulin signaling cascade, including downstream effectors of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-kinase) signaling pathway. In insulin resistant rats, Loperamide treatment effected on the insulin receptor substrate (IRS)-1/PI3-kinase/Akt signaling cascade and subsequent insulin-stimulated glucose transport trafficking on skeletal muscle, which were all suppressed by MOR antagonism. In addition, induction of insulin resistance by the intake of high fructose is more rapid in MOR knockout mice than in wild-type mice. Improvements in insulin sensitivity through the peripheral MOR activation overcoming defects related to the post-receptor in IRS-1-associated PI3-kinase step have been defined. Opioid receptor activation, especially of the μ-subtype, may provide merits in the amelioration of defective insulin action. Atypical zeta (ζ) isoform of protein kinase C serves as a factor that integrates with peripheral MOR pathway and insulin signals for glucose utilization. The developments call new insights into the chemical compounds and/or herbal products that might enhance opioid peptide secretion and/or stimulate MOR in peripheral insulin-sensitive tissues to serve as potential agents or adjuvants for helping the glucose metabolism. In the present review, we update these topics and discuss the concept of targeting peripheral MOR pathway for the treatment of insulin resistance.

Alternate JournalPharmacol. Ther.