The human insulin receptor has two isoforms derived from alternative splicing of exon 11 of the insulin receptor gene. The type B (containing exon 11, or exon 11+) isoform binds insulin with twofold lower affinity than the type A (lacking exon 11, or exon 11-) isoform. In efforts to resolve the controversy over whether altered splicing is involved in the development of insulin resistance and non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), the spontaneously obese diabetic rhesus monkey, a unique model that is extraordinarily similar to human NIDDM, was used. Cross-sectional studies of insulin receptor mRNA splicing variants in vastus lateralis muscle were performed on 19 rhesus monkeys. When monkeys were divided into four groups based upon the known stages of progression to NIDDM: normal (normoglycemic/normoinsulinemic), prediabetic (normoglycemic/hyperinsulinemic), early NIDDM (hyperglycemic/hyperinsulinemic), and late NIDDM (hyperglycemic/hypoinsulinemic), both hyperinsulinemic groups had significantly higher percentages of the exon 11- mRNA splicing variant compared to the normal (74.8 +/- 1.7 vs 59.0 +/- 2.3%; P < 0.005) and late NIDDM groups (74.8 +/- 1.7 vs 64.2 +/- 3.9%; P < 0.05). Our findings provide the first direct evidence linking hyperinsulinemia to alterations in insulin receptor mRNA splicing, and suggest that alterations of insulin receptor mRNA splicing in muscle is an early molecular marker that may play an important role in NIDDM.


Z Huang, N L Bodkin, H K Ortmeyer, B C Hansen, A R Shuldiner


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