Isoform-Specific Role of GSK-3 in High Fat Diet Induced Obesity and Glucose Intolerance

Academic Article


  • Obesity-associated metabolic disorders are rising to pandemic proportions; hence, there is an urgent need to identify underlying molecular mechanisms. Glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) signaling is highly implicated in metabolic diseases. Furthermore, GSK-3 expression and activity are increased in Type 2 diabetes patients. However, the isoform-specific role of GSK-3 in obesity and glucose intolerance is unclear. Pharmacological GSK-3 inhibitors are not isoform-specific, and tissue-specific genetic models are of limited value to predict the clinical outcome of systemic inhibiion. To overcome these limitations, we created novel mouse models of ROSA26CreERT2-driven, tamoxifen-inducible conditional deletion of GSK-3 that allowed us to delete the gene globally in an isoform-specific and temporal manner. Isoform-specific GSK-3 KOs and littermate controls were subjected to a 16-week high-fat diet (HFD) protocol. On an HFD, GSK-3α KO mice had a significantly lower body weight and modest improvement in glucose tolerance compared to their littermate controls. In contrast, GSK-3β-deletion-mediated improved glucose tolerance was evident much earlier in the timeline and extended up to 12 weeks post-HFD. However, this protective effect weakened after chronic HFD (16 weeks) when GSK-3β KO mice had a significantly higher body weight compared to controls. Importantly, GSK-3β KO mice on a control diet maintained significant improvement in glucose tolerance even after 16 weeks. In summary, our novel mouse models allowed us to delineate the isoform-specific role of GSK-3 in obesity and glucose tolerance. From a translational perspective, our findings underscore the importance of maintaining a healthy weight in patients receiving lithium therapy, which is thought to work by GSK-3 inhibition mechanisms.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Cells  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Gupte M; Tousif S; Lemon JJ; Cora AT; Umbarkar P; Lal H
  • Volume

  • 11
  • Issue

  • 3