Adipocyte-specific DKO of Lkb1 and mTOR protects mice against HFD-induced obesity, but results in insulin resistance.
ABSTRACT: Liver kinase B1 (Lkb1) and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) are key regulators of energy metabolism and cell growth. We have previously reported that adipocyte-specific KO of Lkb1 or mTOR in mice results in distinct developmental and metabolic phenotypes. Here, we aimed to assess how genetic KO of both Lkb1 and mTOR affects adipose tissue development and function in energy homeostasis. We used Adiponectin-Cre to drive adipocyte-specific double KO (DKO) of Lkb1 and mTOR in mice. We performed indirect calorimetry, glucose and insulin tolerance tests, and gene expression assays on the DKO and WT mice. We found that DKO of Lkb1 and mTOR results in reductions of brown adipose tissue and inguinal white adipose tissue mass, but in increases of liver mass. Notably, the DKO mice developed fatty liver and insulin resistance, but displayed improved glucose tolerance after high-fat diet (HFD)-feeding. Interestingly, the DKO mice were protected from HFD-induced obesity due to their higher energy expenditure and lower expression levels of adipogenic genes (CCAAT/enhancer binding protein ? and PPAR?) compared with WT mice. These results together indicate that, compared with Lkb1 or mTOR single KOs, Lkb1/mTOR DKO in adipocytes results in overlapping and distinct metabolic phenotypes, and mTOR KO largely overrides the effect of Lkb1 KO.
Project description:Brown adipose tissue (BAT) dissipates energy through Ucp1-mediated uncoupled respiration and its activation may represent a therapeutic strategy to combat obesity. Here we show that Lkb1 controls BAT expansion and UCP1 expression in mice. We generate adipocyte-specific Lkb1 knockout mice and show that, compared with wild-type littermates, these mice exhibit elevated UCP1 expression in BAT and subcutaneous white adipose tissue, have increased BAT mass and higher energy expenditure. Consequently, KO mice have improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity, and are more resistant to high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity. Deletion of Lkb1 results in a cytoplasm to nuclear translocation of CRTC3 in brown adipocytes, where it recruits C/EBP? to enhance Ucp1 transcription. In parallel, the absence of Lkb1 also suppresses AMPK activity, leading to activation of the mTOR signalling pathway and subsequent BAT expansion. These data suggest that inhibition of Lkb1 or its downstream signalling in adipocytes could be a novel strategy to increase energy expenditure in the context of obesity, diabetes and other metabolic diseases.
Project description:Brown adipose tissues (BAT) burn lipids to generate heat through uncoupled respiration, thus representing a powerful target to counteract lipid accumulation and obesity. The tumor suppressor liver kinase b1 (Lkb1) is a key regulator of cellular energy metabolism; and adipocyte-specific knockout of Lkb1 (Ad-Lkb1 KO) leads to the expansion of BAT, improvements in systemic metabolism and resistance to obesity in young mice. Here we report the unexpected finding that the Ad-Lkb1 KO mice develop hindlimb paralysis at mid-age. Gene expression analyses indicate that Lkb1 KO upregulates the expression of inflammatory cytokines in interscapular BAT and epineurial brown adipocytes surrounding the sciatic nerve. This is followed by peripheral neuropathy characterized by infiltration of macrophages into the sciatic nerve, axon degeneration, reduced nerve conductance, and hindlimb paralysis. Mechanistically, Lkb1 KO reduces AMPK phosphorylation and amplifies mammalian target-of-rapamycin (mTOR)-dependent inflammatory signaling specifically in BAT but not WAT. Importantly, pharmacological or genetic inhibition of mTOR ameliorates inflammation and prevents paralysis. These results demonstrate that BAT inflammation is linked to peripheral neuropathy.
Project description:Chronic alcohol consumption induces adipose tissue atrophy. However, the mechanisms for how alcohol induces lipodystrophy and its impact on liver steatosis and injury are not fully elucidated. Autophagy is a highly conserved lysosomal degradation pathway, which regulates cellular homeostasis. Mice with autophagy deficiency in adipose tissue have impaired adipogenesis. However, whether autophagy plays a role in alcohol-induced adipose atrophy and how altered adipocyte autophagy contributes to alcohol-induced liver injury remain unclear. To determine the role of adipose autophagy and mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) in alcohol-induced adipose and liver pathogenesis, we generated adipocyte-specific Atg5 knockout (KO), adipocyte-specific mTOR KO, adipocyte-specific Raptor KO, and adipocyte-specific tuberous sclerosis complex 1 KO mice by crossing floxed mice with Adipoq-Cre. The KO mice and their matched wild-type mice were challenged with chronic-plus-binge alcohol mouse model. Chronic-plus-binge alcohol induced adipose atrophy with increased autophagy and decreased Akt/mTOR signaling in epididymal adipose tissue in wild-type mice. Adipocyte-specific Raptor KO mice experienced exacerbated alcohol-induced steatosis, but neither adipocyte-specific mTOR nor adipocyte-specific tuberous sclerosis complex 1 KO mice exhibited similar detrimental effects. Adipocyte-specific Atg5 KO mice had increased circulating levels of fibroblast growth factor 21 and adiponectin and were resistant to alcohol-induced adipose atrophy and liver injury. In conclusion, autophagy deficiency in adipose tissue leads to reduced sensitivity to alcohol-induced adipose atrophy, which ameliorates alcohol-induced liver injury in mice.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:Regulation of fatty acid (FA) metabolism is central to adipocyte dysfunction during diet-induced obesity (DIO). Long-chain acyl-CoA synthetase-4 (ACSL4) has been hypothesized to modulate the metabolic fates of polyunsaturated FA (PUFA), including arachidonic acid (AA), but the in vivo actions of ACSL4 are unknown. The purpose of our studies was to determine the in vivo role of adipocyte ACSL4 in regulating obesity-associated adipocyte dysfunction. METHODS:We developed a novel mouse model with adipocyte-specific ablation of ACSL4 (Ad-KO) using loxP Cre recombinase technology. Metabolic phenotyping of Ad-KO mice relative to their floxed littermates (ACSL4floxed) was performed, including body weight and body composition over time; insulin and glucose tolerance tests; and energy expenditure, activity, and food intake in metabolic cages. Adipocytes were isolated for ex vivo adipocyte oxygen consumption by Clark electrode and lipidomics analysis. In vitro adipocyte analysis including oxygen consumption by Seahorse and real-time PCR analysis were performed to confirm our in vivo findings. RESULTS:Ad-KO mice were protected against DIO, adipocyte death, and metabolic dysfunction. Adipocytes from Ad-KO mice fed high-fat diet (HFD) had reduced incorporation of AA into phospholipids (PL), free AA, and levels of the AA lipid peroxidation product 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE). Additionally, adipocytes from Ad-KO mice fed HFD had reduced p53 activation and increased adipocyte oxygen consumption (OCR), which we demonstrated are direct effects of 4-HNE on adipocytes in vitro. CONCLUSION:These studies are the first to elucidate ACSL4's in vivo actions to regulate the incorporation of AA into PL and downstream effects on DIO-associated adipocyte dysfunction. By reducing the incorporation of AA into PL and free fatty acid pools in adipocytes, Ad-KO mice were significantly protected against HFD-induced increases in adipose and liver fat accumulation, adipocyte death, gonadal white adipose tissue (gWAT) inflammation, and insulin resistance (IR). Additionally, deficiency of adipocyte ACSL4 expression in mice fed a HFD resulted in increased gWAT adipocyte OCR and whole body energy expenditure (EE).
Project description:Numerous studies have suggested that beige adipocyte abundance is correlated with improved metabolic performance, but direct evidence showing that beige adipocyte expansion protects animals from the development of obesity is missing. Previously, we have described that the liver kinase b1 (LKB1) regulates beige adipocyte renaissance in subcutaneous inguinal white adipose tissue (iWAT) through a class IIa histone deacetylase 4 (HDAC4)-dependent mechanism. This study investigates the physiological impact of persistent beige adipocyte renaissance in energy homeostasis in mice. Here we present that the transgenic mice H4-TG, overexpressing constitutively active HDAC4 in adipocytes, showed beige adipocyte expansion in iWAT at room temperature. H4-TG mice exhibited increased energy expenditure due to beige adipocyte expansion. They also exhibited reduced adiposity under both normal chow and high-fat diet (HFD) feeding conditions. Specific ablation of beige adipocytes reversed the protection against HFD-induced obesity in H4-TG mice. Taken together, our results directly demonstrate that beige adipocyte expansion regulates adiposity in mice and targeting beige adipocyte renaissance may present a novel strategy to tackle obesity in humans.
Project description:Autophagy is a lysosomal degradation pathway that degrades cytoplasmic proteins and organelles. Absence of autophagy in hepatocytes has been linked to promoting liver injury and tumorigenesis; however, the mechanisms behind why a lack of autophagy induces these complications are not fully understood. The role of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) in impaired autophagy-induced liver pathogenesis and tumorigenesis was investigated by using liver-specific autophagy related 5 knockout (L-ATG5 KO) mice, L-ATG5/mTOR, and L-ATG5/Raptor double knockout (DKO) mice. We found that deletion of mTOR or Raptor in L-ATG5 KO mice at 2 months of age attenuated hepatomegaly, cell death, and inflammation but not fibrosis. Surprisingly, at 6 months of age, L-ATG5/mTOR DKO and L-ATG5/Raptor DKO mice also had increased hepatic inflammation, fibrosis, and liver injury, similar to the L-ATG5 KO mice. Moreover, more than 50% of L-ATG5/mTOR DKO and L-ATG5/Raptor DKO mice already developed spontaneous tumors, but none of the L-ATG5 KO mice had developed any tumors at 6 months of age. At 9 months of age, all L-ATG5/mTOR DKO and L-ATG5/Raptor DKO had developed liver tumors. Mechanistically, L-ATG5/mTOR DKO and L-ATG5/Raptor DKO mice had decreased levels of hepatic ubiquitinated proteins and persistent nuclear erythroid 2 p45-related factor 2 activation but had increased Akt activation compared with L-ATG5 KO mice. Conclusion: Loss of mTOR signaling attenuates the liver pathogenesis in mice with impaired hepatic autophagy but paradoxically promotes tumorigenesis in mice at a relatively young age. Therefore, the balance of mTOR is critical in regulating the liver pathogenesis and tumorigenesis in mice with impaired hepatic autophagy.
Project description:Modulation of adipocyte lipolysis represents an attractive approach to treat metabolic diseases. Lipolysis mainly depends on two enzymes: adipose triglyceride lipase and hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL). Here, we investigated the short- and long-term impact of adipocyte HSL on energy homeostasis using adipocyte-specific HSL knockout (AHKO) mice. AHKO mice fed high-fat-diet (HFD) progressively developed lipodystrophy accompanied by excessive hepatic lipid accumulation. The increased hepatic triglyceride deposition was due to induced de novo lipogenesis driven by increased fatty acid release from adipose tissue during refeeding related to defective insulin signaling in adipose tissue. Remarkably, the fatty liver of HFD-fed AHKO mice reversed with advanced age. The reversal of fatty liver coincided with a pronounced lipodystrophic phenotype leading to blunted lipolytic activity in adipose tissue. Overall, we demonstrate that impaired adipocyte HSL-mediated lipolysis affects systemic energy homeostasis in AHKO mice, whereby with older age, these mice reverse their fatty liver despite advanced lipodystrophy.
Project description:Osteopontin (OPN) is a multifunctional extracellular matrix (ECM) protein involved in multiple physiological processes. OPN expression is dramatically increased in visceral adipose tissue in obesity and the lack of OPN protects against the development of insulin resistance and inflammation in mice. We sought to unravel the potential mechanisms involved in the beneficial effects of the absence of OPN. We analyzed the effect of the lack of OPN in the development of obesity and hepatic steatosis induced by a high-fat diet (HFD) using OPN-KO mice. OPN expression was upregulated in epididymal white adipose tissue (EWAT) and liver in wild type (WT) mice with HFD. OPN-KO mice had higher insulin sensitivity, lower body weight and fat mass with reduced adipose tissue ECM remodeling and reduced adipocyte size than WT mice under a HFD. Reduced MMP2 and MMP9 activity was involved in the decreased ECM remodeling. Crown-like structure number in EWAT as well as F4/80-positive cells and Emr1 expression in EWAT and liver increased with HFD, while OPN-deficiency blunted the increase. Moreover, our data show for the first time that OPN-KO under a HFD mice display reduced fibrosis in adipose tissue and liver, as well as reduced oxidative stress in adipose tissue. Gene expression of collagens Col1a1, Col6a1 and Col6a3 in EWAT and liver, as well as the profibrotic cytokine Tgfb1 in EWAT were increased with HFD, while OPN-deficiency prevented this increase. OPN deficiency prevented hepatic steatosis via reduction in the expression of molecules involved in the onset of fat accumulation such as Pparg, Srebf1, Fasn, Mogat1, Dgat2 and Cidec. Furthermore, OPN-KO mice exhibited higher body temperature and improved BAT function. The present data reveal novel mechanisms of OPN in the development of obesity, pointing out the inhibition of OPN as a promising target for the treatment of obesity and fatty liver.
Project description:Obesity is a growing epidemic in developed countries. Obese individuals are susceptible to comorbidities, including cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorder. Increasing the ability of adipose tissue to expend excess energy could improve protection from obesity. One promising target is microRNA (miR)-155-5p. We demonstrate that deletion of miR-155 (-5p and -3p) in female mice prevents diet-induced obesity. Body weight gain did not differ between wild-type (WT) and miR-155 knockout (KO) mice fed control diet (CD); however, miR-155 KO mice fed high-fat diet (HFD) gained 56% less body weight and 74% less gonadal white adipose tissue (WAT) than WT mice. Enhanced WAT thermogenic potential, brown adipose tissue differentiation, and/or insulin sensitivity might underlie this obesity resistance. Indeed, miR-155 KO mice on HFD had 21% higher heat release than WT HFD mice. Compared to WT adipocytes, miR-155 KO adipocytes upregulated brown (Ucp1, Cidea, Pparg) and white (Fabp4, Pnpla2, AdipoQ, Fasn) adipogenic genes, and glucose metabolism genes (Glut4, Irs1). miR-155 deletion abrogated HFD-induced adipocyte hypertrophy and WAT inflammation. Therefore, miR-155 deletion increases adipogenic, insulin sensitivity, and energy uncoupling machinery, while limiting inflammation in WAT, which together could restrict HFD-induced fat accumulation. Our results identify miR-155 as a novel candidate target for improving obesity resistance.
Project description:Liver kinase B1 (Lkb1) plays crucial roles in development, metabolism and survival. As constitutive knockout of Lkb1 in mice leads to embryonic lethality, whether Lkb1 is required for the growth and survival of adult mice is unclear. Here we address this question using a tamoxifen-inducible Lkb1 knockout (KO) mouse model: Rosa26-Cre<sup>ER</sup>: Lkb1<sup>flox/flox</sup> (abbreviated as Rosa-Lkb1). The Rosa-Lkb1 mice exhibited body weight reduction and died within 6 weeks after tamoxifen induction. The body weight reduction was due to reduced weight of various tissues but the brown and white adipose tissues underwent much more pronounced weight reduction relative to the overall body weight reduction. Accordingly, the Rosa-Lkb1 mice had increased blood glucose levels and were intolerant to glucose challenge. Expression levels of adipogenic and lipogenic genes in adipose tissues were also dramatically reduced by Lkb1 deletion. Additionally, Lkb1 deletion reduced lipid deposition and increased expression of mitochondrial (Pgc1a, Cox5b and Cox7a) and hepatic gluconeogenesis related genes (Pepck) in liver. Finally, the Rosa-Lkb1 mice had much reduced oxygen consumption, carbon dioxide production, and energy expenditure. These results demonstrate that Lkb1 plays an important role in maintaining body weight, liver and adipose tissue function, blood glucose homeostasis and survival in adult mice.