Chromium (VI) induces insulin resistance in 3T3-L1 adipocytes through elevated reactive oxygen species generation

Xuemei Ge, Zhen Liu, Wei Qi, Xianglin Shi, Qiwei Zhai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) have been proposed to be involved in the development of insulin resistance, although the exact molecular link between ROS and insulin resistance remains to be determined. Chromium (Cr(VI)) is known as an inducer of ROS. Therefore, this study examined whether Cr(VI) could induce insulin resistance. It demonstrated that Cr(VI) treatment significantly inhibited insulin-stimulated glucose uptake and attenuated insulin signalling. Moreover, Cr(VI) treatment markedly increased the intracellular levels of superoxide anion, hydrogen peroxide and hydroxyl radical. N-acetylcysteine, superoxide dismutase and catalase can block the ROS generation and alleviate the insulin resistance induced by Cr(VI) treatment. In addition, Cr(VI) treatment induced endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and JNK activation and these effects were diminished by N-acetylcysteine. These results suggested that ROS generation through Cr(VI) treatment cause ER stress, JNK activation and insulin resistance in adipocytes. Therefore, the oxidative stress could be a potential interventional target for insulin-resistance related diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)554-563
Number of pages10
JournalFree Radical Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by grants from National Natural Science Foundation of China (30570558, 30671775 and 30271124) and PLA (02M003), the Chinese Academy of Sciences (KSCX2-YW-N-034 and KSCX1-YW-02), National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program, 2006CB503900 and 2007CB914501), the Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality (06DZ19021) and the Knowledge Innovation Program of Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences (2007KIP103). Q. Zhai is a scholar of the Hundred Talents Program from Chinese Academy of Sciences.


  • Cr(VI)
  • ER stress
  • Insulin resistance
  • JNK
  • ROS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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