Insulin resistance is an indication of early stage Type 2 diabetes (T2D). Insulin resistant adipose tissues contain higher levels of insulin than the physiological level, as well as higher amounts of intracellular tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and other cytokines. However, the mechanism of insulin resistance remains poorly understood. To better understand the roles played by insulin and TNF-α in insulin resistance, we performed proteomic analysis of differentiated 3T3-L1 adipocytes treated with insulin (Ins), TNF-α (TNF), and both (Ins + TNF). Out of the 693 proteins identified, the abundances of 78 proteins were significantly different (p
< 0.05). Carnitine parmitoyltransferase-2 (CPT2), acetyl CoA carboxylase 1 (ACCAC-1), ethylmalonyl CoA decarboxylase (ECHD1), and methylmalonyl CoA isomerase (MCEE), enzymes required for fatty acid β-oxidation and respiratory electron transport, and β-glucuronidase, an enzyme responsible for the breakdown of complex carbohydrates, were down-regulated in all the treatment groups, compared to the control group. In contrast, superoxide dismutase 2 (SOD2), protein disulfide isomerase (PDI), and glutathione reductase, which are the proteins responsible for cytoskeletal structure, protein folding, degradation, and oxidative stress responses, were up-regulated. This suggests higher oxidative stress in cells treated with Ins, TNF, or both. We proposed a conceptual metabolic pathway impacted by the treatments and their possible link to insulin resistance or T2D.
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