Insulin Fused to Apolipoprotein A-I Reduces Body Weight and Steatosis in DB/DB Mice
Nuria Ardaiz, Celia Gomar, Marcos Vasquez, Shirley Tenesaca, Myriam Fernandez-Sendin, Claudia Augusta Di Trani, Virginia Belsué, Javier Escalada, Ulrich Werner, Norbert Tennagels, Pedro Berraondo
Background: Targeting long-lasting insulins to the liver may improve metabolic alterations that are not corrected with current insulin replacement therapies. However, insulin is only able to promote lipogenesis but not to block gluconeogenesis in the insulin-resistant liver, exacerbating liver steatosis associated with diabetes.
Methods: In order to overcome this limitation, we fused a single-chain insulin to apolipoprotein A-I, and we evaluated the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of this novel fusion protein in wild type mice and in db/db mice using both recombinant proteins and recombinant adenoassociated virus (AAV).
Results: Here, we report that the fusion protein between single-chain insulin and apolipoprotein A-I prolonged the insulin half-life in circulation, and accumulated in the liver. We analyzed the long-term effect of these insulin fused to apolipoprotein A-I or insulin fused to albumin using AAVs in the db/db mouse model of diabetes, obesity, and liver steatosis. While AAV encoding insulin fused to albumin exacerbated liver steatosis in several mice, AAV encoding insulin fused to apolipoprotein A-I reduced liver steatosis.
These results were confirmed upon daily subcutaneous administration of the recombinant insulin-apolipoprotein A-I fusion protein for six weeks. The reduced liver steatosis was associated with reduced body weight in mice treated with insulin fused to apolipoprotein A-I. Recombinant apolipoprotein A-I alone significantly reduces body weight and liver weight, indicating that the apolipoprotein A-I moiety is the main driver of these effects.
Conclusion: The fusion protein of insulin and apolipoprotein A-I could be a promising insulin derivative for the treatment of diabetic patients with associated fatty liver disease.