Palmitoleate attenuates palmitate-induced Bim and PUMA up-regulation and hepatocyte lipoapoptosis

Yuko Akazawa, Sophie Cazanave, Justin L Mott, Nafisa Elmi, Steven F Bronk, Shigeru Kohno, Michael R Charlton, Gregory J Gores
Journal of Hepatology 2010, 52 (4): 586-93

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Saturated free fatty acids induce hepatocyte lipoapoptosis. This lipotoxicity involves an endoplasmic reticulum stress response, activation of JNK, and altered expression and function of Bcl-2 proteins. The mono-unsaturated free fatty acid palmitoleate is an adipose-derived lipokine which suppresses free fatty acid-mediated lipotoxicity by unclear mechanisms. Herein we examined the mechanisms responsible for cytoprotection.

METHODS: We employed isolated human and mouse primary hepatocytes, and the Huh-7 and Hep 3B cell lines for these studies. Cells were incubated in presence and absence of palmitate (16:0), stearate (18:0), and or palmitoleate (16:1, n-7).

RESULTS: Palmitoleate significantly reduced lipoapoptosis by palmitate or stearate in both primary cells and cell lines. Palmitoleate accentuated palmitate-induced steatosis in Huh-7 cells excluding inhibition of steatosis as a mechanism for reduced apoptosis. Palmitoleate inhibited palmitate induction of the endoplasmic reticulum stress response as demonstrated by reductions in CHOP expression, eIF2-alpha phosphorylation, XBP-1 splicing, and JNK activation. Palmitate increased expression of the BH3-only proteins PUMA and Bim, which was attenuated by palmitoleate. Consistent with its inhibition of PUMA and Bim induction, palmitoleate prevented activation of the downstream death mediator Bax.

CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest palmitoleate inhibits lipoapoptosis by blocking endoplasmic reticulum stress-associated increases of the BH3-only proteins Bim and PUMA.

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