British journal of pharmacology

Rectification of impaired adipose tissue methylation status and lipolytic response contributes to hepatoprotective effect of betaine in a mouse model of alcoholic liver disease.

PMID 24819676


Overactive lipolysis in adipose tissue contributes to the pathogenesis of alcoholic liver disease (ALD); however, the mechanisms involved have not been elucidated. We previously reported that chronic alcohol consumption produces a hypomethylation state in adipose tissue. In this study we investigated the role of hypomethylation in adipose tissue in alcohol-induced lipolysis and whether its correction contributes to the well-established hepatoprotective effect of betaine in ALD. Male C57BL/6 mice were divided into four groups and started on one of four treatments for 5 weeks: isocaloric pair-fed (PF), alcohol-fed (AF), PF supplemented with betaine (BT/AF) and AF supplemented with betaine (BT/AF). Betaine, 0.5% (w v(-1) ), was added to the liquid diet. Both primary adipocytes and mature 3T3-L1 adipocytes were exposed to demethylation reagents and their lipolytic responses determined. Betaine alleviated alcohol-induced pathological changes in the liver and rectified the impaired methylation status in adipose tissue, concomitant with attenuating lipolysis. In adipocytes, inducing hypomethylation activated lipolysis through a mechanism involving suppression of protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A), due to hypomethylation of its catalytic subunit, leading to increased activation of hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL). In line with in vitro observations, reduced PP2A catalytic subunit methylation and activity, and enhanced HSL activation, were observed in adipose tissue of alcohol-fed mice. Betaine attenuated this alcohol-induced PP2A suppression and HSL activation. In adipose tissue, a hypomethylation state contributes to its alcohol-induced dysfunction and an improvement in its function may contribute to the hepatoprotective effects of betaine in ALD.