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PLOS ONE  2011 

Regulation of Lipogenesis by Glucocorticoids and Insulin in Human Adipose Tissue

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0026223

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Patients with glucocorticoid (GC) excess, Cushing's syndrome, develop a classic phenotype characterized by central obesity and insulin resistance. GCs are known to increase the release of fatty acids from adipose, by stimulating lipolysis, however, the impact of GCs on the processes that regulate lipid accumulation has not been explored. Intracellular levels of active GC are dependent upon the activity of 11β-Hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1) and we have hypothesized that 11β-HSD1 activity can regulate lipid homeostasis in human adipose tissue (Chub-S7 cell line and primary cultures of human subcutaneous (sc) and omental (om) adipocytes. Across adipocyte differentiation, lipogenesis increased whilst β-oxidation decreased. GC treatment decreased lipogenesis but did not alter rates of β-oxidation in Chub-S7 cells, whilst insulin increased lipogenesis in all adipocyte cell models. Low dose Dexamethasone pre-treatment (5 nM) of Chub-S7 cells augmented the ability of insulin to stimulate lipogenesis and there was no evidence of adipose tissue insulin resistance in primary sc cells. Both cortisol and cortisone decreased lipogenesis; selective 11β-HSD1 inhibition completely abolished cortisone-mediated repression of lipogenesis. GCs have potent actions upon lipid homeostasis and these effects are dependent upon interactions with insulin. These in vitro data suggest that manipulation of GC availability through selective 11β-HSD1 inhibition modifies lipid homeostasis in human adipocytes.


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