Insulin Antagonizes LPS-Induced Inflammatory Responses by Activating SR-A1/ERK Axis in Macrophages

  • Liu Zhu
  • Lei Fan
  • Yaqin Zhu
  • Yan Wang
  • Hui Bai
  • Qing Yang
  • Jingjing Ben
  • Hanwen Zhang
  • Xiaoyu Li
  • Xudong ZhuEmail author
  • Qi ChenEmail author


Insulin is a key regulator of metabolism and inflammation in the body. However, the mechanism of the anti-inflammatory effect of insulin is not fully understood. In the present study, we investigated the role of the class A1 scavenger receptor (SR-A1), a prototypic member of the pattern recognition receptor family, in the insulin-mediated suppression of inflammatory responses in macrophages. Our murine in vivo studies show that insulin can attenuate lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced endotoxemia in a SR-A1-dependent manner, and this was consistent with our in vitro results which demonstrate that the SR-A1 is necessary for insulin to antagonize the LPS-induced inflammatory responses in macrophages. The effect of SR-A1 on the anti-inflammatory action of insulin might be associated with the activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK) signaling pathway in macrophages. Insulin could inhibit macrophage polarization to a pro-inflammatory phenotype via the SR-A1/ERK cascade. Collectively, our results suggest that SR-A1 may be a pivotal element for the anti-inflammation effect of insulin in macrophages.

Key Words

insulin lipopolysaccharide anti-inflammation scavenger receptor ERK pathway 



This study was funded by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81830011, 81670418, and 91739304 to Qi Chen, 81870371 to Jingjing Ben, 81770417 to Xudong Zhu, 81670263 to Xiaoyu Li) and the Natural Science Foundation of the Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions of China (18KJA310003 to Jingjing Ben, 15KJA310001 to Xiaoyu Li).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the Nanjing Medical University (Permit Number: NJMU/IACUC-1601121).

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liu Zhu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lei Fan
    • 1
  • Yaqin Zhu
    • 1
  • Yan Wang
    • 1
  • Hui Bai
    • 1
  • Qing Yang
    • 1
  • Jingjing Ben
    • 1
  • Hanwen Zhang
    • 1
  • Xiaoyu Li
    • 1
  • Xudong Zhu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Qi Chen
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Targeted Intervention of Cardiovascular Disease, Collaborative Innovation Center for Cardiovascular Disease Translational MedicineNanjing Medical UniversityNanjingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Cardiovascular Medicine DepartmentThe Second Affiliated Hospital of Soochow UniversitySuzhouPeople’s Republic of China

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