EMBO molecular medicine

Cardiac LXRα protects against pathological cardiac hypertrophy and dysfunction by enhancing glucose uptake and utilization.

PMID 26160456


Pathological cardiac hypertrophy is characterized by a shift in metabolic substrate utilization from fatty acids to glucose, but the molecular events underlying the metabolic remodeling remain poorly understood. Here, we investigated the role of liver X receptors (LXRs), which are key regulators of glucose and lipid metabolism, in cardiac hypertrophic pathogenesis. Using a transgenic approach in mice, we show that overexpression of LXRα acts to protect the heart against hypertrophy, fibrosis, and dysfunction. Gene expression profiling studies revealed that genes regulating metabolic pathways were differentially expressed in hearts with elevated LXRα. Functionally, LXRα overexpression in isolated cardiomyocytes and murine hearts markedly enhanced the capacity for myocardial glucose uptake following hypertrophic stress. Conversely, this adaptive response was diminished in LXRα-deficient mice. Transcriptional changes induced by LXRα overexpression promoted energy-independent utilization of glucose via the hexosamine biosynthesis pathway, resulting in O-GlcNAc modification of GATA4 and Mef2c and the induction of cytoprotective natriuretic peptide expression. Our results identify LXRα as a key cardiac transcriptional regulator that helps orchestrate an adaptive metabolic response to chronic cardiac stress, and suggest that modulating LXRα may provide a unique opportunity for intervening in myocyte metabolism.