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Elevated Norepinephrine Stimulates Adipocyte Hyperplasia in Ovine Fetuses with Placental Insufficiency and IUGR.

Endocrinology 2023 November 31
Prevailing hypoxemia and hypoglycemia in near-term fetuses with placental insufficiency-induced intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) chronically increases norepinephrine concentrations, which lowers adrenergic sensitivity and lipid mobilization postnatally, indicating a predisposition for adiposity. To determine adrenergic-induced responses, we examined the perirenal adipose tissue transcriptome from IUGR fetuses with or without hypercatecholaminemia. IUGR was induced in sheep with maternal hyperthermia, and hypercatecholaminemia in IUGR was prevented with bilateral adrenal demedullation. Adipose tissue was collected from sham-operated control (CON) and IUGR fetuses and adrenal-demedullated control (CAD) and IUGR (IAD) fetuses. Norepinephrine concentrations were lower in IAD fetuses than in IUGR fetuses despite both being hypoxemic and hypoglycemic. In IUGR fetuses perirenal adipose tissue mass relative to body mass was greater compared to CON, CAD and IAD groups. Transcriptomic analysis identified 581 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in CON versus IUGR adipose tissue, and 193 DEGs in IUGR versus IAD adipose tissue. Integrated functional analysis of these two comparisons showed enrichment for PPAR signaling and metabolic pathways and identified adrenergic responsive genes. Within the adrenergic-regulated DEGs, we identified transcripts that regulate adipocyte proliferation and differentiation: adipogenesis regulatory factor (ADIRF), C/CCAAT/enhancer binding protein α, and sterol carrier protein 2. DEGs associated with the metabolic pathway included pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase 4 (PDK4), 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-biphosphatase 4, insulin-like growth factor binding proteins (IGFBP-5 and IGFBP-7). Sex-specific expression differences were also found for ADIRF, PDK4, IGFBP5 and IGFBP7. These findings indicate that sustained adrenergic stimulation during IUGR leads to adipocyte hyperplasia with alterations in metabolism, proliferation and preadipocyte differentiation pathways.

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