Crosstalk between the AMP-activated kinase and insulin signaling pathways rescues murine blastocyst cells from insulin resistance

Erica Louden, Maggie M. Chi, Kelle H. Moley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Maternal insulin resistance results in poor pregnancy outcomes. In vivo and in vitro exposure of the murine blastocyst to high insulin or IGF1 results in the down-regulation of the IGF1 receptor (IGF1R). This in turn leads to decreased glucose uptake, increased apoptosis, as well as pregnancy resorption and growth restriction. Recent studies have shown that blastocyst activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) reverses these detrimental effects; however, the mechanism was not clear. The objective of this study was to determine how AMPK activation rescues the insulin-resistant blastocyst. Using trophoblast stem (TS) cells derived from the blastocyst, insulin resistance was recreated by transfecting with siRNA to lgflr and down-regulating expression of the protein. These cells were then exposed to AMPK activators 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide riboside and phenformin, and evaluated for apoptosis, insulin-stimulated 2-deoxyglucose uptake, P13-kinase activity, and levels of phospho-AKT, phospho-mTor, and phospho-70S6K. Surprisingly, disrupted insulin signaling led to decreased AMPK activity in TS cells. Activators reversed these effects by increasing the AMP/ATP ratio. Moreover, this treatment increased insulin-stimulated 2-deoxyglucose transport and cell survival, and led to an increase in P13-kinase activity, as well as increased P-mTOR and p70S6K levels. This study is the first to demonstrate significant crosstalk between the AMPK and insulin signaling pathways in embryonic cells, specifically the enhanced response of P13K/AKT/mTOR to AMPK activation. Decreased insulin signaling also resulted in decreased AMPK activation. These findings provide mechanistic targets in the AMPK signaling pathway that may be essential for improved pregnancy success in insulin-resistant states.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-344
Number of pages10
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2008


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