Glucocorticoids (GCs) are essential for proper glycemic control, but in excess, can lead to hyperglycemia and diabetes. In this issue of the JCI, Cui et al. elucidate a mechanism by which GCs regulate gluconeogenesis utilizing the transcription factor Krüppel-like factor 9 (KLF9) in physiology and disease settings. They report that KLF9 is a GC-inducible factor that ultimately increases the transcription of proliferator-activated receptor γ coactivator 1 α (PGC1α), resulting in gluconeogenesis. Given the high incidence of GC-induced diabetes, identification of this signaling axis provides, not only critical scientific insight, but also a foundation for preventative therapies for patients receiving chronic GC treatment.
David R. Sweet, Liyan Fan, Mukesh K. Jain