Multiple mechanisms of GW-9508, a selective G protein-coupled receptor 40 agonist, in the regulation of glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity

Horng Yih Ou, Hung Tsung Wu, Hao Chang Hung, Yi Ching Yang, Jin Shang Wu, Chih Jen Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Activation of G protein-coupled receptor 40 (GPR40) by agonists increases insulin release in isolated islets, whereas it is inconclusive whether GPR40 antagonists decrease blood glucose and increase insulin sensitivity. Although some clinical trials indicated that administration of a GPR40 agonist shows benefits in the regulation of blood glucose homeostasis, the pharmacological mechanisms of this receptor in the improvement of glycemic control remain unclear. Therefore, we used a selective GPR40 agonist, GW-9508, to clarify the role of GPR40 in the regulation of blood glucose. Bolus intraperitoneal injection of GW-9508 in mice showed a slight decrease in blood glucose, with an increase in plasma insulin levels under glucose stimuli. However, long-term treatment with low doses of GW-9508 in high-fat diet-induced (HFD) diabetic mice decreased blood glucose with decreased plasma insulin significantly and improved glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. Using small interfering ribonucleic acid to delete GPR40 in HepG2 cells, we demonstrated that GW-9508 reversed palmitate-induced insulin signaling impairment through a GPR40-dependent pathway. We also found that GW-9508 activates the Akt/GSK-3β pathway to increase glycogen levels in HepG2 cells. Furthermore, administration of GW-9508 decreased the hepatic expression of fetuin-A in HFD mice significantly and regulated highglucose- or palmitate-induced fetuin-A expression to increase insulin sensitivity through a GPR40/PLC/PKC pathway in HepG2 cells. Taken together, GW-9508 exerts a partial agonist effect to regulate blood glucose through multiple mechanisms. Investigation of chemicals that act on GPR40 might be a new strategy for the treatment of diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E668-E676
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 7 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Diabetes
  • Fetuin-A
  • G protein-coupled receptor 40
  • Insulin resistance
  • Partial agonist

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • General Medicine


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