Overexpression of the orphan receptor Nur77 alters glucose metabolism in rat muscle cells and rat muscle in vivo
Regular physical exercise is well known to improve glucose and lipid metabolism in skeletal muscle. However, the transcription factors regulating these adaptive changes are not well-characterised. Recently the nuclear orphan receptor nur77 was shown to be induced by exercise and linked to regulation of metabolic gene expression in skeletal muscle. In this study we investigated the regulation of nur77 in muscle by different exercise-activated pathways. Nur77 expression was found to be responsive to adrenergic stimulation and calcium influx, but not to activation of the AMP dependent kinase. These results identify the adrenergic-cyclic AMP-PKA pathway to be the most potent activator of nur77 expression in muscle and therefore the likely cause of increased expression after exercise. We also identified nur77 expression to be reduced in the muscle of obese/insulin resistant rats after high fat feeding. Furthermore exposure to fatty acids, insulin or inflammation was not the cause of decreased nur77 expression in insulin resistant muscle. This suggests a reduced responsiveness to adrenergic stimulation as the likely cause of diminished nur77 expression in muscle of high fat fed rats, which has been observed in obese/insulin resistant individuals. Our results suggest adrenergic stimulation as the most important stimulus for nur77 expression and point to a significant role for this transcription factor in adaptive changes in muscle after exercise and in insulin resistant states.