Activation of inflammatory pathways may contribute to the beginning and the progression of both atherosclerosis and type 2 diabetes. Here we report a novel interaction between insulin action and control of inflammation, resulting in glucose intolerance and vascular inflammation and amenable to therapeutic modulation. In insulin receptor heterozygous (Insr+/-) mice, we identified the deficiency of tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 3 (Timp3, an inhibitor of both TNF-alpha-converting enzyme [TACE] and MMPs) as a common bond between glucose intolerance and vascular inflammation. Among Insr+/- mice, those that develop diabetes have reduced Timp3 and increased TACE activity. Unchecked TACE activity causes an increase in levels of soluble TNF-alpha, which subsequently promotes diabetes and vascular inflammation. Double heterozygous Insr+/-Timp3+/- mice develop mild hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia at 3 months and overt glucose intolerance and hyperinsulinemia at 6 months. A therapeutic role for Timp3/TACE modulation is supported by the observation that pharmacological inhibition of TACE led to marked reduction of hyperglycemia and vascular inflammation in Insr+/- diabetic mice, as well as by the observation of increased insulin sensitivity in Tace+/- mice compared with WT mice. Our results suggest that an interplay between reduced insulin action and unchecked TACE activity promotes diabetes and vascular inflammation.
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