Scientific reports

HMGA1 overexpression in adipose tissue impairs adipogenesis and prevents diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance.

PMID 26411793


High-Mobility-Group-A1 (HMGA1) proteins are non-histone proteins that regulate chromatin structure and gene expression during embryogenesis, tumourigenesis and immune responses. In vitro studies suggest that HMGA1 proteins may be required to regulate adipogenesis. To examine the role of HMGA1 in vivo, we generated transgenic mice overexpressing HMGA1 in adipose tissues. HMGA1 transgenic mice showed a marked reduction in white and brown adipose tissue mass that was associated with downregulation of genes involved in adipogenesis and concomitant upregulation of preadipocyte markers. Reduced adipogenesis and decreased fat mass were not associated with altered glucose homeostasis since HMGA1 transgenic mice fed a regular-chow diet exhibited normal glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. However, when fed a high-fat diet, overexpression of HMGA1 resulted in decreased body-weight gain, reduced fat mass, but improved insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance. Although HMGA1 transgenic mice exhibited impaired glucose uptake in adipose tissue due to impaired adipogenesis, the increased glucose uptake observed in skeletal muscle may account for the improved glucose homeostasis. Our results indicate that HMGA1 plays an important function in the regulation of white and brown adipogenesis in vivo and suggests that impaired adipocyte differentiation and decreased fat mass is not always associated with impaired whole-body glucose homeostasis.