Mito: Mendelian interactions alter in vivo glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity in healthy mice

Academic Article


  • The regulation of euglycemia is essential for human health with both chronic hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia having detrimental effects. It is well documented that the incidence of type 2 diabetes increases with age and exhibits racial disparity. Interestingly, mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) damage also accumulates with age and its sequence varies with geographic maternal origins (maternal race). From these two observations, we hypothesized that mtDNA background may contribute to glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. Pronuclear transfer was used to generate mitochondrial-nuclear eXchange (MNX) mice to directly test this hypothesis, by assessing physiologic parameters of glucose metabolism in nuclear isogenic C57BL/6J mice harboring either a C57BL/6J (C57n:C57mt wild type—control) or C3H/HeN mtDNA (C57n:C3Hmt—MNX). All mice were fed normal chow diets. MNX mice were significantly leaner, had lower leptin levels, and were more insulin sensitive, with lower modified Homeostatic Model Assessment of Insulin Resistance (mHOMA-IR) values and enhanced insulin action when compared with their control counterparts. Further interrogation of muscle insulin signaling revealed higher phosphorylated Akt/total Akt ratios in MNX animals relative to control, consistent with greater insulin sensitivity. Overall, these results are consistent with the hypothesis that different mtDNA combinations on the same nuclear DNA (nDNA) background can significantly impact glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity in healthy mice. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Different mitochondrial DNAs on the same nuclear genetic background can significantly impact body composition, glucose metabolism, and insulin sensitivity in healthy mice.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Sammy MJ; Connelly AW; Brown JA; Holleman C; Habegger KM; Ballinger SW
  • Start Page

  • E521
  • End Page

  • E529
  • Volume

  • 321
  • Issue

  • 4