Suppression of Cardiac Autophagy by Hyperinsulinemia in Insulin Receptor-Deficient Hearts Is Mediated by Insulin-Like Growth Factor Receptor Signaling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)444-457
Number of pages14
JournalAntioxidants and Redox Signaling
Issue number6
StatusPublished - Aug 20 2019


Aims: Autophagy is a catabolic process required for the maintenance of cardiac health. Insulin and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) are potent inhibitors of autophagy and as such, one would predict that autophagy will be increased in the insulin-resistant/diabetic heart. However, autophagy is rather decreased in the hearts of diabetic/insulin-resistant mice. The aim of this study is to determine the contribution of IGF-1 receptor signaling to autophagy suppression in insulin receptor (IR)-deficient hearts. Results: Absence of IRs in the heart was associated with reduced autophagic flux, and further inhibition of autophagosome clearance reduced survival, impaired contractile function, and enhanced myocyte loss. Contrary to the in vivo setting, isolated cardiomyocytes from IR-deficient hearts exhibited unrestrained autophagy in the absence of insulin, whereas addition of insulin was able to suppress autophagy. To investigate the mechanisms involved in the maintenance of the responsiveness to insulin in IR-deficient hearts, we generated mice lacking both IRs and one copy of the IGF-1 receptor (IGF-1R) in cardiac cells and showed that these mice had increased autophagy. Innovation and Conclusion: This study unveils a new mechanism by which IR-deficient hearts can still respond to insulin to suppress autophagy, in part, through activation of IGF-1R signaling. This is a highly significant observation because it is the first to show that systemic hyperinsulinemia can suppress autophagy in IR-deficient hearts through IGF-1R signaling.

    Research areas

  • IGF-1 receptors, autophagy, cardiomyocytes, contractile function, hyperinsulinemia, insulin