Alpha-lipoic acid attenuates endoplasmic reticulum stress-induced insulin resistance by improving mitochondrial function in HepG2 cells.
Cell Signal. 2016 Oct ;28(10):1441-50. Epub 2016 Jul 1. PMID: 27377964
Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) has been reported to have beneficial effects for improving insulin sensitivity. However, the underlying molecular mechanism of the beneficial effects remains poorly understood. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and mitochondrial dysfunction are considered causal factors that induce insulin resistance. In this study, we investigated the effect of ALA on the modulation of insulin resistance in ER-stressed HepG2 cells, and we explored the potential mechanism of this effect. HepG2 cells were incubated with tunicamycin (Tun) for 6h to establish an ER stress cell model. Tun treatment induced ER stress, mitochondrial dysfunction and insulin resistance. Interestingly, ALA had no significant effect on ER stress signals. Pretreatment of the ER stress cell model with ALA for 24h improved insulin sensitivity, restored the expression levels of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) complexes and increased intracellular ATP production. Moreover, ALA augmented theβ-oxidation capacity of the mitochondria. Importantly, ALA treatment could decrease oligomycin-induced mitochondrial dysfunction and then improved insulin resistance. Taken together, our data suggest that ALA prevents ER stress-induced insulin resistance by enhancing mitochondrial function.