Autotaxin (ATX) is an adipokine that generates the bioactive lipid, lysophosphatidic acid (LPA). ATX-LPA signaling has been implicated in diet-induced obesity and systemic insulin resistance. However, it remains unclear whether the ATX-LPA pathway influences insulin function and energy metabolism in target tissues, particularly skeletal muscle, the major site of insulin-stimulated glucose disposal. The objective of this study was to test whether the ATX-LPA pathway impacts tissue insulin signaling and mitochondrial metabolism in skeletal muscle during obesity. Male mice with heterozygous ATX deficiency (ATX+/-) were protected from obesity, systemic insulin resistance, and cardiomyocyte dysfunction following high-fat high-sucrose (HFHS) feeding. HFHS-fed ATX+/- mice also had improved insulin-stimulated AKT phosphorylation in white adipose tissue, liver, heart, and skeletal muscle. Preserved insulin-stimulated glucose transport in muscle from HFHS-fed ATX+/- mice was associated with improved mitochondrial pyruvate oxidation in the absence of changes in fat oxidation and ectopic lipid accumulation. Similarly, incubation with LPA decreased insulin-stimulated AKT phosphorylation and mitochondrial energy metabolism in C2C12 myotubes at baseline and following palmitate-induced insulin resistance. Taken together, our results suggest that the ATX-LPA pathway contributes to obesity-induced insulin resistance in metabolically relevant tissues. Our data also suggest that LPA directly impairs skeletal muscle insulin signaling and mitochondrial function.
J Lipid Res. 2018 Oct;59(10):1805-1817. doi: 10.1194/jlr.M082008. Epub 2018 Aug 2.