Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is characterized by insulin resistance and increased hepatic glucose production, yet the molecular mechanisms underlying these abnormalities are poorly understood. MicroRNAs (miRs) are a class of small, noncoding RNAs that have been implicated in the regulation of human diseases, including T2D. miR-26a is known to play a critical role in tumorigenesis; however, its function in cellular metabolism remains unknown. Here, we determined that miR-26a regulates insulin signaling and metabolism of glucose and lipids. Compared with lean individuals, overweight humans had decreased expression of miR-26a in the liver. Moreover, miR-26 was downregulated in 2 obese mouse models compared with control animals. Global or liver-specific overexpression of miR-26a in mice fed a high-fat diet improved insulin sensitivity, decreased hepatic glucose production, and decreased fatty acid synthesis, thereby preventing obesity-induced metabolic complications. Conversely, silencing of endogenous miR-26a in conventional diet–fed mice impaired insulin sensitivity, enhanced glucose production, and increased fatty acid synthesis. miR-26a targeted several key regulators of hepatic metabolism and insulin signaling. These findings reveal miR-26a as a regulator of liver metabolism and suggest miR-26a should be further explored as a potential target for the treatment of T2D.
Xianghui Fu, Bingning Dong, Yan Tian, Philippe Lefebvre, Zhipeng Meng, Xichun Wang, François Pattou, Weidong Han, Xiaoqiong Wang, Fang Lou, Richard Jove, Bart Staels, David D. Moore, Wendong Huang
miR-26a expression is reduced in obese mice and humans.