BACKGROUNDAngiotensin II promotes insulin resistance. The mechanism underlying this abnormality, however, is still poorly defined. In a different setting, skeletal muscle metabolism and insulin signaling are regulated by Sirtuin3.OBJECTIVEHere, we investigate whether angiotensin II-induced insulin resistance in skeletal muscle is associated with Sirtuin3 dysregulation and whether pharmacological manipulation of Sirtuin3 confers protection.STUDY DESIGNParental and GLUT4-myc L6 rat skeletal muscle cells exposed to angiotensin II are used as in vitro models of insulin resistance. GLUT4 translocation, glucose uptake, intracellular molecular signals such as mitochondrial reactive oxygen species, Sirtuin3 protein expression and activity, along with its downstream targets and upstream regulators, are analyzed both in the absence and presence of acetyl-L-carnitine. The role of Sirtuin3 in GLUT4 translocation and intracellular molecular signaling is also studied in Sirtuin3-silenced as well as over-expressing cells.RESULTSAngiotensin II promotes insulin resistance in skeletal muscle cells via mitochondrial oxidative stress, resulting in a two-fold increase in superoxide generation. In this context, reactive oxygen species open the mitochondrial permeability transition pore and significantly lower Sirtuin3 levels and activity impairing the cell antioxidant defense. Angiotensin II-induced Sirtuin3 dysfunction leads to the impairment of AMP-activated protein kinase/nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase signaling. Acetyl-L-carnitine, by lowering angiotensin II-induced mitochondrial superoxide formation, prevents Sirtuin3 dysfunction. This phenomenon implies the restoration of manganese superoxide dismutase antioxidant activity and AMP-activated protein kinase activation. Acetyl-L-carnitine protection is abrogated by specific Sirtuin3 siRNA.CONCLUSIONSOur data demonstrate that angiotensin II-induced insulin resistance fosters mitochondrial superoxide generation, in turn leading to Sirtuin3 dysfunction. The present results also highlight Sirtuin3 as a therapeutic target for the insulin-sensitizing effects of acetyl-L-carnitine.