The Journal of biological chemistry

Increased Energy Expenditure, Ucp1 Expression, and Resistance to Diet-induced Obesity in Mice Lacking Nuclear Factor-Erythroid-2-related Transcription Factor-2 (Nrf2).

PMID 26841864


The NRF2 (also known as NFE2L2) transcription factor is a critical regulator of genes involved in defense against oxidative stress. Previous studies suggest thatNrf2plays a role in adipogenesisin vitro, and deletion of theNrf2gene protects against diet-induced obesity in mice. Here, we demonstrate that resistance to diet-induced obesity inNrf2(-/-)mice is associated with a 20-30% increase in energy expenditure. Analysis of bioenergetics revealed thatNrf2(-/-)white adipose tissues exhibit greater oxygen consumption. White adipose tissue showed a >2-fold increase inUcp1gene expression. Oxygen consumption is also increased nearly 2.5-fold inNrf2-deficient fibroblasts. Oxidative stress induced by glucose oxidase resulted in increasedUcp1expression. Conversely, antioxidant chemicals (such asN-acetylcysteine and Mn(III)tetrakis(4-benzoic acid)porphyrin chloride) and SB203580 (a known suppressor ofUcp1expression) decreasedUcp1and oxygen consumption inNrf2-deficient fibroblasts. These findings suggest that increasing oxidative stress by limitingNrf2function in white adipocytes may be a novel means to modulate energy balance as a treatment of obesity and related clinical disorders.