Anti-Insulin receptor antibodies improve hyperglycemia in a mouse model of human insulin receptoropathy

Gemma V. Brierley, Hannah Webber, Eerika Rasijeff, Sarah Grocott, Kenneth Siddle, Robert K Semple

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Loss-of-function mutations in both alleles of the human insulin receptor gene (INSR) cause extreme insulin resistance (IR) and usually death in childhood, with few effective therapeutic options. Bivalent anti-receptor antibodies can elicit insulinlike signaling by mutant INSR in cultured cells, but whether this translates into meaningful metabolic benefits in vivo, where dynamics of insulin signaling and receptor recycling are more complex, is unknown. To address this we adopted a strategy to model human insulin receptoropathy in mice, using Cre recombinase delivered by adeno-associated virus to knock out endogenous hepatic Insr acutely in floxed Insr mice (L-IRKO+GFP), before adenovirus-mediated ‘add-back’ of wild-type (WT) or mutant human INSR. Two murine anti-INSR monoclonal antibodies, previously shown to be surrogate agonists for mutant INSR, were then tested by intraperitoneal injections. As expected, L-IRKO+GFP mice showed glucose intolerance and severe hyperinsulinemia, and this was fully corrected by add-back of WT but neither D734A nor S350L mutant INSR. Antibody injection improved glucose tolerance in D734A INSR-expressing mice and reduced hyperinsulinemia in both S350L
and D734A INSR-expressing animals, and did not cause hypoglycemia in WT INSR-expressing mice. Antibody treatment
also downregulated both wild-type and mutant INSR protein, attenuating its beneficial metabolic effects. Anti-INSR
antibodies thus improve IR in an acute model of insulin receptoropathy, but these findings imply a narrow therapeutic window
determined by competing effects of antibodies to stimulate receptors and induce their downregulation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2481-2489
Issue number11
Early online date17 Aug 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020


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