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Science 313 (5790): 1137-1140

Copyright © 2006 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Chemical Chaperones Reduce ER Stress and Restore Glucose Homeostasis in a Mouse Model of Type 2 Diabetes

Umut Özcan, Erkan Yilmaz, Lale Özcan, Masato Furuhashi, Eric Vaillancourt, Ross O. Smith, Cem Z. Görgün, Gökhan S. Hotamisligil*

Abstract: Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress is a key link between obesity, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. Here, we provide evidence that this mechanistic link can be exploited for therapeutic purposes with orally active chemical chaperones. 4-Phenyl butyric acid and taurine-conjugated ursodeoxycholic acid alleviated ER stress in cells and whole animals. Treatment of obese and diabetic mice with these compounds resulted in normalization of hyperglycemia, restoration of systemic insulin sensitivity, resolution of fatty liver disease, and enhancement of insulin action in liver, muscle, and adipose tissues. Our results demonstrate that chemical chaperones enhance the adaptive capacity of the ER and act as potent antidiabetic modalities with potential application in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

Department of Genetics and Complex Diseases, Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard University, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: ghotamis{at}

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Chemical Chaperone TUDCA Preserves Cone Photoreceptors in a Mouse Model of Leber Congenital Amaurosis.
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Lipid Peroxidation Product 4-Hydroxy-trans-2-nonenal Causes Endothelial Activation by Inducing Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress.
E. Vladykovskaya, S. D. Sithu, P. Haberzettl, N. S. Wickramasinghe, M. L. Merchant, B. G. Hill, J. McCracken, A. Agarwal, S. Dougherty, S. A. Gordon, et al. (2012)
J. Biol. Chem. 287, 11398-11409
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Topical Ocular Sodium 4-Phenylbutyrate Rescues Glaucoma in a Myocilin Mouse Model of Primary Open-Angle Glaucoma.
G. S. Zode, K. E. Bugge, K. Mohan, S. D. Grozdanic, J. C. Peters, D. R. Koehn, M. G. Anderson, R. H. Kardon, E. M. Stone, and V. C. Sheffield (2012)
Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 53, 1557-1565
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12/15-Lipoxygenase signaling in the endoplasmic reticulum stress response.
B. K. Cole, N. S. Kuhn, S. M. Green-Mitchell, K. A. Leone, R. M. Raab, J. L. Nadler, and S. K. Chakrabarti (2012)
Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 302, E654-E665
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Functional RNA Interference (RNAi) Screen Identifies System A Neutral Amino Acid Transporter 2 (SNAT2) as a Mediator of Arsenic-induced Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress.
R. S. Oh, W.-C. Pan, A. Yalcin, H. Zhang, T. R. Guilarte, G. S. Hotamisligil, D. C. Christiani, and Q. Lu (2012)
J. Biol. Chem. 287, 6025-6034
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Influenza A Viral Replication Is Blocked by Inhibition of the Inositol-requiring Enzyme 1 (IRE1) Stress Pathway.
I. H. Hassan, M. S. Zhang, L. S. Powers, J. Q. Shao, J. Baltrusaitis, D. T. Rutkowski, K. Legge, and M. M. Monick (2012)
J. Biol. Chem. 287, 4679-4689
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Role of TRIB3 in Diabetic and Overnutrition-Induced Atherosclerosis.
J. R. Sowers (2012)
Diabetes 61, 265-266
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Activation of Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress by Hyperglycemia Is Essential for Muller Cell-Derived Inflammatory Cytokine Production in Diabetes.
Y. Zhong, J. Li, Y. Chen, J. J. Wang, R. Ratan, and S. X. Zhang (2012)
Diabetes 61, 492-504
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Dissociation of Inositol-requiring Enzyme (IRE1{alpha})-mediated c-Jun N-terminal Kinase Activation from Hepatic Insulin Resistance in Conditional X-box-binding Protein-1 (XBP1) Knock-out Mice.
M. J. Jurczak, A.-H. Lee, F. R. Jornayvaz, H.-Y. Lee, A. L. Birkenfeld, B. A. Guigni, M. Kahn, V. T. Samuel, L. H. Glimcher, and G. I. Shulman (2012)
J. Biol. Chem. 287, 2558-2567
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TUDCA Slows Retinal Degeneration in Two Different Mouse Models of Retinitis Pigmentosa and Prevents Obesity in Bardet-Biedl Syndrome Type 1 Mice.
A. V. Drack, A. V. Dumitrescu, S. Bhattarai, D. Gratie, E. M. Stone, R. Mullins, and V. C. Sheffield (2012)
Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 53, 100-106
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Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress Inhibits STAT3-Dependent Suppression of Hepatic Gluconeogenesis via Dephosphorylation and Deacetylation.
K. Kimura, T. Yamada, M. Matsumoto, Y. Kido, T. Hosooka, S.-i. Asahara, T. Matsuda, T. Ota, H. Watanabe, Y. Sai, et al. (2012)
Diabetes 61, 61-73
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Histone deacetylase inhibitors prevent the degradation and restore the activity of glucocerebrosidase in Gaucher disease.
J. Lu, C. Yang, M. Chen, D. Y. Ye, R. R. Lonser, R. O. Brady, and Z. Zhuang (2011)
PNAS 108, 21200-21205
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Mechanisms of ER Stress-Induced Apoptosis in Atherosclerosis.
C. M. Scull and I. Tabas (2011)
Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 31, 2792-2797
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Experimental evidence for therapeutic potential of taurine in the treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
C. L. Gentile, A. M. Nivala, J. C. Gonzales, K. T. Pfaffenbach, D. Wang, Y. Wei, H. Jiang, D. J. Orlicky, D. R. Petersen, M. J. Pagliassotti, et al. (2011)
Am J Physiol Regulatory Integrative Comp Physiol 301, R1710-R1722
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Chemical and Biological Approaches for Adapting Proteostasis to Ameliorate Protein Misfolding and Aggregation Diseases-Progress and Prognosis.
S. L. Lindquist and J. W. Kelly (2011)
Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol 3, a004507
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