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International journal of obesity (2005)

Endothelin-1 stimulates human adipocyte lipolysis through the ET A receptor.


PMID 18982011

Abstract

Levels of the vascular peptide endothelin-1 (ET-1) are significantly elevated in obesity. Adipose tissue-derived ET-1 attenuates insulin-mediated antilipolysis in human visceral adipocytes through the activation of the ET receptor B (ET(B)R), thereby linking ET-1 to insulin resistance. Whether ET-1 has direct effects on lipolysis in human adipocytes is not known. Endothelin-1 receptor (ETR) mRNA expression was determined by quantitative PCR in 130 non-obese and obese subjects. ET-1 mRNA in different adipose tissue regions was also assessed. ETR protein expression was analyzed by western blotting in 37 subjects. The effect of ET-1 on lipolysis was assessed in freshly isolated adipocytes and in vitro differentiated adipocytes from human donors. Freshly isolated human adipocytes incubated with different concentrations of ET-1 showed no acute effect on lipolysis. In contrast, a 24 h incubation in primary cultures of human adipocytes resulted in a significant 50% increase in lipolysis. This effect was concentration dependent and could be mimicked by an agonist of the ET(A) receptor but not with a selective ET(B)R agonist. Adipocyte differentiation was not affected by any of the agonists. In subcutaneous (s.c.) adipose tissue from 19 non-obese and 18 obese subjects, the protein expression of ET(A)R was significantly higher in obese subjects whereas there was no difference in ET(B)R expression. Interestingly, the differences in protein expression were not observed at the mRNA level as ET(A)R expression was similar between lean and obese subjects. Long-term but not acute incubation of human adipocytes with ET-1 results in a significant increase in lipolysis. This appears to be mediated through the activation of ET(A)R, demonstrating a yet another receptor-specific effect of ET-1. In addition, the protein expression of ET(A)R is increased in s.c. adipose tissue in obesity, possibly through post-transcriptional mechanisms. An increased effect of ET-1 could be a mechanism that contributes to increased basal lipolysis in human obesity.

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