Ectopic UCP1 Overexpression in White Adipose Tissue Improves Insulin Sensitivity in Lou/C Rats, a Model of Obesity Resistance

Anne-Laure Poher, Christelle Veyrat-Durebex, Jordi Altirriba, Xavier Montet, Didier J Colin, Aurélie Caillon, Jacqueline Lyautey, Françoise Rohner-Jeanrenaud
Diabetes 2015, 64 (11): 3700-12
Brown adipose tissue (BAT), characterized by the presence of uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1), has been described as metabolically active in humans. Lou/C rats, originating from the Wistar strain, are resistant to obesity. We previously demonstrated that Lou/C animals express UCP1 in beige adipocytes in inguinal white adipose tissue (iWAT), suggesting a role of this protein in processes such as the control of body weight and the observed improved insulin sensitivity. A β3 adrenergic agonist was administered for 2 weeks in Wistar and Lou/C rats to activate UCP1 and delineate its metabolic impact. The treatment brought about decreases in fat mass and improvements in insulin sensitivity in both groups. In BAT, UCP1 expression increased similarly in response to the treatment in the two groups. However, the intervention induced the appearance of beige cells in iWAT, associated with a marked increase in UCP1 expression, in Lou/C rats only. This increase was correlated with a markedly enhanced glucose uptake measured during euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamps, suggesting a role of beige cells in this process. Activation of UCP1 in ectopic tissues, such as beige cells in iWAT, may be an interesting therapeutic approach to prevent body weight gain, decrease fat mass, and improve insulin sensitivity.

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