The farnesoid X receptor promotes adipocyte differentiation and regulates adipose cell function in vivo

Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Università degli Studi di Perugia, Perugia, Umbria, Italy
Molecular Pharmacology (Impact Factor: 4.12). 11/2006; 70(4):1164-73. DOI: 10.1124/mol.106.023820
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The differentiation of a preadipocyte into a mature adipocyte is a highly regulated process that requires a scripted program of transcriptional events leading to changes in gene expression. Several genes are associated with adipogenesis, including the CAAT/enhancer-binding protein (C/EBPs) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) families of transcription factors. In this study, we have investigated the role of the farnesoid X receptor (FXR), a bile acid-activated nuclear receptor, in regulating adipogenesis in a preadipocyte cell line (3T3-L1 cells). Our results show that FXR is expressed in the white adipose tissue of adult mice and in differentiated 3T3-L1 cells but not in undifferentiated preadipocytes. Exposure of 3T3-L1 cells to INT-747 (6-ethyl cheno-deoxycholic acid), a potent and selective FXR ligand, increases preadipocyte differentiation induced by a differentiating mixture containing insulin. Augmentation of differentiating mixture-induced differentiation of 3T3-L1 cells by INT-747 associated with induction of aP2, C/EBPalpha, and PPARgamma2 mRNAs along with other adipocyte-related genes. This effect was reversed by guggulsterone, an FXR antagonist, and partially reverted by GW9662 (2-chloro-5-nitro-N-phenylbenzamide), a selective PPARgamma antagonist, indicating that FXR modulates adipocyte-related genes by PPARgamma-dependent and -independent pathways. Regulation of adipocyte-related genes by INT-747 was lost in FXR-/- mice, indicating that modulation of these genes by INT-747 requires an intact FXR. In addition, INT-747 enhances both insulin-induced serine phosphorylation of Akt and glucose uptake by 3T3-L1 cells. Taken together, these results suggest that activation of FXR plays a critical role in regulating adipogenesis and insulin signaling.

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    ABSTRACT: Farnesoid X receptors (FXRs) are nuclear hormone receptors expressed in high amounts in body tissues that participate in bilirubin metabolism including the liver, intestines, and kidneys. Bile acids (BAs) are the natural ligands of the FXRs. FXRs regulate the expression of the gene encoding for cholesterol 7 alpha-hydroxylase, which is the rate-limiting enzyme in BA synthesis. In addition, FXRs play a critical role in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism and regulation of insulin sensitivity. FXRs also modulate live growth and regeneration during liver injury. Preclinical studies have shown that FXR activation protects against cholestasis-induced liver injury. Moreover, FXR activation protects against fatty liver injury in animal models of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), and improved hyperlipidemia, glucose intolerance, and insulin sensitivity. Obeticholic acid (OCA), a 6α-ethyl derivative of the natural human BA chenodeoxycholic acid (CDCA) is the first-in-class selective FXR agonist that is ~100-fold more potent than CDCA. Preliminary human clinical trials have shown that OCA is safe and effective. In a phase II clinical trial, administration of OCA was well-tolerated, increased insulin sensitivity and reduced markers of liver inflammation and fibrosis in patients with type II diabetes mellitus and NAFLD. In two clinical trials of OCA in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), a progressive cholestatic liver disease, OCA significantly reduced serum alkaline phosphatase (ALP) levels, an important disease marker that correlates well with clinical outcomes of patients with PBC. Together, these studies suggest that FXR agonists could potentially be used as therapeutic tools in patients suffering from nonalcoholic fatty and cholestatic liver diseases. Larger and Longer-term studies are currently ongoing.
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    05/2010, Degree: PhD, Supervisor: Bart Staels