Environmental health perspectives

Aryl hydrocarbon receptor deficiency enhances insulin sensitivity and reduces PPAR-α pathway activity in mice.

PMID 21849270


Numerous man-made pollutants activate the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) and are risk factors for type 2 diabetes. AhR signaling also affects molecular clock genes to influence glucose metabolism. We investigated mechanisms by which AhR activation affects glucose metabolism. Glucose tolerance, insulin resistance, and expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-α (PPAR-α) and genes affecting glucose metabolism or fatty acid oxidation and clock gene rhythms were investigated in wild-type (WT) and AhR-deficient [knockout (KO)] mice. AhR agonists and small interfering RNA (siRNA) were used to examine the effect of AhR on PPAR-α expression and glycolysis in the liver cell line Hepa-1c1c7 (c7) and its c12 and c4 derivatives. Brain, muscle ARNT-like protein 1 (Bmal1) siRNA and Ahr or Bmal1 expression plasmids were used to analyze the effect of BMAL1 on PPAR-α expression in c7 cells. KO mice displayed enhanced insulin sensitivity and improved glucose tolerance, accompanied by decreased PPAR-α and key gluconeogenic and fatty acid oxidation enzymes. AhR agonists increased PPAR-α expression in c7 cells. Both Ahr and Bmal1 siRNA reduced PPAR-α and metabolism genes. Moreover, rhythms of BMAL1 and blood glucose were altered in KO mice. These results indicate a link between AhR signaling, circadian rhythms, and glucose metabolism. Furthermore, hepatic activation of the PPAR-α pathway provides a mechanism underlying AhR-mediated insulin resistance.

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GW6471, ≥98% (HPLC)