The insulin receptor family and protein kinase B (Akt) are activated in the heart by alkaline pH and α1-adrenergic receptors.
Meijles DN., Fuller SJ., Cull JJ., Alharbi HO., Cooper STE., Sugden PH., Clerk A.
Insulin and insulin-like growth factor stimulate protein synthesis and cardioprotection in the heart, acting through their receptors (INSRs, IGF1Rs) and signalling via protein kinase B (PKB, also known as Akt). Protein synthesis is increased in hearts perfused at alkaline pHo to the same extent as with insulin. Moreover, α1-adrenergic receptor (α1-AR) agonists (e.g. phenylephrine) increase protein synthesis in cardiomyocytes, activating PKB/Akt. In both cases, the mechanisms are not understood. Our aim was to determine if insulin receptor-related receptors (INSRRs, activated in kidney by alkaline pH) may account for the effects of alkaline pHo on cardiac protein synthesis, and establish if α1-ARs signal through the insulin receptor family. Alkaline pHo activated PKB/Akt signalling to the same degree as insulin in perfused adult male rat hearts. INSRRs were expressed in rat hearts and, by immunoblotting for phosphorylation (activation) of INSRRs/INSRs/IGF1Rs, we established that INSRRs, together with INSRs/IGF1Rs, are activated by alkaline pHo. The INSRR/INSR/IGF1R kinase inhibitor, linsitinib, prevented PKB/Akt activation by alkaline pHo, indicating that INSRRs/INSRs/IGF1Rs are required. Activation of PKB/Akt in cardiomyocytes by α1-AR agonists was also inhibited by linsitinib. Furthermore, linsitinib inhibited cardiomyocyte hypertrophy induced by α1-ARs in cultured cells, reduced the initial cardiac adaptation (24 h) to phenylephrine in vivo (assessed by echocardiography) and increased cardiac fibrosis over 4 days. We conclude that INSRRs are expressed in the heart and, together with INSRs/IGF1Rs, the insulin receptor family provide a potent system for promoting protein synthesis and cardioprotection. Moreover, this system is required for adaptive hypertrophy induced by α1-ARs.