Prostaglandin A2 enhances cellular insulin sensitivity via a mechanism that involves the orphan nuclear receptor NR4A3

X. Zhu, R. G. Walton, L. Tian, N. Luo, S. R. Ho, Y. Fu, W. T. Garvey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


We have previously reported that members of the NR4A family of orphan nuclear receptors can augment insulin's ability to stimulate glucose transport in adipocytes. In the current study, we endeavored to test for an insulin-sensitizing effect in muscle cells and to identify a potential transactivator. Lentiviral constructs were used to engineer both hyperexpression and shRNA silencing of NR4A3 in C2C12 myocytes. The NR4A3 hyper-expression construct led to a significant increase in glucose transport rates in the presence of maximal insulin while the NR4A3 knock-down exhibited a significant reduction in insulin-stimulated glucose transport rates. Consistently, insulin-mediated AKT phosphorylation was increased by NR4A3 hyperexpression and decreased following shRNA NR4A3 suppression. Then, we examined effects of prostaglandin A2 (PGA2) on insulin action and NR4A3 transactivation. PGA2 augmented insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in C2C12 myocytes and AKT phosphorylation after 12-h treatment, without significant effects on basal transport or basal AKT phosphorylation. More importantly, we demonstrated that PGA2 led to a greater improvement in insulin-stimulated glucose rates in NR4A3 overexpressing C2C12 myocytes, when compared with Lac-Z controls stimulated with insulin and PGA2. Moreover, the sensitizing effect of PGA2 was significantly diminished in NR4A3 knockdown myocytes compared to scramble controls. These results show for the first time that: (i) PGA2 augments insulin action in myocytes as manifested by enhanced stimulation of glucose transport and AKT phosphorylation; and (ii) the insulin sensitizing effect is dependent upon the orphan nuclear receptor NR4A3.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-220
Number of pages8
JournalHormone and Metabolic Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2013


  • C2C12 cells
  • NR4A3
  • glucose transport
  • insulin sensitivity
  • prostaglandin A
  • skeletal muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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