Synthetic glucocorticoids such as prednisolone have potent antiinflammatory actions. Unfortunately, these drugs induce severe adverse effects in patients, many of which resemble features of the metabolic syndrome, such as insulin resistance. In this study, we investigated whether adverse effects of prednisolone on glucose homeostasis are aggravated in mice with compromised insulin sensitivity due to a high-fat diet by applying various methods to analyze changes in insulin sensitivity in mice. C57BL/6J micewerefed a high-fat diet for 6wkandtreated with either prednisolone (10 mg/kg · d) or vehicle for the last 7 d. Insulin sensitivity and blood glucose kinetics were analyzed with state-of-the-art stable isotope procedures in different experimental conditions. Prednisolone treatment aggravated fasting hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia caused by high-fat feeding, resulting in a higher homeostatic assessment model of insulin resistance. In addition, prednisolone-treated high-fat diet-fed mice appeared less insulin sensitive by detailed analysis of basal glucose kinetics. Remarkably, using hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic or hyperglycemic clamp techniques, neither hepatic nor peripheral insulin resistance was worsened in the group that was treated with prednisolone. Yet analysis of hepatic glucose metabolism revealed that prednisolone did alter glycogen balance by reducing glycogen synthase flux under hyperinsulinemic as well as hyperglycemic conditions. In addition to elevated insulin levels, prednisolone-treated mice showed a major rise in plasma leptin and fibroblast growth factor 21 levels. Our data indicate that prednisoloneinduced adverse effects on glucose metabolism in high-fat diet-fed mice do not reflect impaired insulin sensitivity but may be caused by other changes in the hormonal regulatory network controlling glucose metabolism such as fibroblast growth factor 21 and leptin. Copyright,
Department of Internal Medicine

Laskewitz, A., van Dijk, T., Grefhorst, A., van Lierop, M.-J., Schreurs, M., Bloks, V., … Groen, A. (2012). Chronic prednisolone treatment aggravates hyperglycemia in mice fed a high-fat diet but does not worsen dietary fat-induced insulin resistance. Endocrinology, 153(8), 3713–3723. doi:10.1210/en.2011-1891