Insulin reverses growth hormone-induced homologous desensitization

Jie Xu, Zhongyu Liu, Thomas L. Clemens, Joseph L. Messina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Growth hormone (GH) is secreted in a pulsatile pattern to promote body growth and metabolism. GH exerts its function by activating several signaling pathways, including JAK2/STAT and MEK/ERK. ERK1/2 activation by GH plays important roles in gene expression, cell proliferation, and growth. We previously reported that in rat H4IIE hepatoma cells after an initial GH exposure, a second GH exposure induces STAT5 phosphorylation but not ERK1/2 phosphorylation (Ji, S., Frank, S. J., and Messina, J. L. (2002) J. Biol. Chem. 277, 28384-28393). In this study the mechanisms underlying GH-induced homologous desensitization were investigated. A second GH exposure activated the signaling intermediates upstream of MEK/ERK, including JAK2, Ras, and Raf-1. This correlated with recovery of GH receptor levels, but was insufficient for GH-induced phosphorylation of MEK1/2 and ERK1/2. Insulin restored the ability of a second GH exposure to induce phosphorylation of MEK1/2 and ERK1/2 without altering GH receptor levels or GH-induced phosphorylation/activation of JAK2 and Raf-1. GH and insulin synergized in promoting cell proliferation. Further investigation suggested that insulin increased the amount of MEK bound to KSR (kinase suppressor of Ras) and restored GH-induced tyrosine phosphorylation of KSR. Previous GH exposure also induced desensitization of STAT1 and STAT3 phosphorylation, but this desensitization was not reversed by insulin. Thus, insulin-regulated resensitization of GH signaling may be necessary to reset the complete response to GH after a normal, physiologic pulse of GH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21594-21606
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number31
StatePublished - Aug 4 2006
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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