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Hepatitis C virus dysregulates glucose homeostasis by a dual mechanism involving induction of PGC1α and dephosphorylation of FoxO1

Authors

  • C. Bernsmeier,

    1. Department of Biomedicine, University and University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland
    2. Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
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  • D. Calabrese,

    1. Department of Biomedicine, University and University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland
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  • M. H. Heim,

    1. Department of Biomedicine, University and University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland
    2. Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
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  • H. T. F. Duong

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Biomedicine, University and University Hospital Basel, Basel, Switzerland
    • Correspondence: Francois H. T. Duong, PhD, Department of Biomedicine, University Hospital Basel, Hebelstrasse 20, 4031 Basel, Switzerland.

      E-mail: francois.duong@unibas.ch

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Summary

The maintenance of glucose homeostasis is a complex process in which the insulin signalling pathway plays a major role. Disruption of insulin-regulated glucose homeostasis is frequently observed in chronic hepatitis C (CHC) infection and might potentially contribute to type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) development. Presently, the mechanism that links HCV infection to insulin resistance remains unclear. Previously, we have reported that HCV protein expression in HCV transgenic mice (B6HCV) leads to an overexpression of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) through an ER stress response. In the present work, we describe an association of FoxO1 hypophosphorylation and upregulation of both PGC-1α and G6Pase to phenotypic hyperglycaemia and insulin resistance in B6HCV mice. In vitro, we observed that PGC1α is concomitantly induced with PP2A. Moreover, we show that the enhanced PP2A expression is sufficient to inhibit insulin-induced FoxO1 phosphorylation via blockade of insulin-mediated Akt activation or/and through direct association and dephosphorylation of pS-FoxO1. Consequently, we found that the gluconeogenic gene glucose-6-phosphatase is upregulated. These observations were confirmed in liver biopsies obtained from CHC patients. In summary, our results show that HCV-mediated upregulation of PP2A catalytic subunit alters signalling pathways that control hepatic glucose homeostasis by inhibiting Akt and dephosphorylation of FoxO1.

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