Insulin resistant individuals display elevated fasting and post-prandial glucose levels which are mainly driven by inadequate inhibition of gluconeogenesis (GNG) and are rarely normalized. The aim of this study was to investigate whether direct inhibition of GNG could be a new therapeutical approach to improve glucose homeostasis using in vitro and in vivo models of insulin resistance. Fructose 1,6-bisphosphatase (FBP1) is key in controlling GNG in liver and kidney and loss of function patients display hypoglycaemia episodes and lactate acidosis. Systemic FBP1 inhibition using small molecules has shown to improve glucose homeostasis. To assess the clinical efficacy and safety potential of silencing FBP1 selectively in the liver we dosed insulin resistant DIO rats with a hepatocyte specific GalXC-FBP1 siRNA entity. GalXC-FBP1 siRNA markedly reduced FBP1 mRNA level in the liver by over 90%. This was associated with a complete lack of glucose excursion following a pyruvate challenge indicating inhibition of GNG. Blood glucose level decreased similarly in rats treated with GalXC-FBP1 siRNA or vehicle during an insulin challenge or a prolonged fast suggesting that hepatic FBP1 silencing is not inducing hypoglycaemia. Insulin sensitivity and hyperinsulinemia were improved. Plasma lactate and liver enzymes were not elevated, but a significant 2-fold increase in liver triglycerides was observed in the GalXC-FBP1 siRNA group. Using human hepatocytes in a Liver-on-Chip in vitro model FBP1 silencing reduced glucose production by 30% supporting the relevance of this approach in humans. Collectively these data suggest that liver specific FBP1 silencing has the potential to improve insulin sensitivity in DIO rats without inducing hypoglycaemia but may be associated with a risk of liver steatosis overtime. This concept highlights the difficulty of blocking liver GNG without re-directing the metabolic intermediates fluxes toward triglycerides accumulation in liver.
C. Fledelius: Employee; Novo Nordisk A/S. D. Demozay: Employee; Novo Nordisk A/S. H. Iversen: None. R. S. Ingvorsen: None. L. B. Eriksen: None. A. Blois: Employee; Novo Nordisk. Y. Montauban: None. R. Rijnbrand: Employee; Novo Nordisk. W. Han: None. J. F. Jeppesen: Employee; Novo Nordisk A/S.