Hepatology 2011 Mar 11;53(3):821-32. Epub 2011 Feb 11.
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Institut de Biomedicina de la Universitat de Barcelona (IBUB), Barcelona, Spain.
Unlabelled: Obesity-induced insulin resistance is associated with both ectopic lipid deposition and chronic, low-grade adipose tissue inflammation. Despite their excess fat, obese individuals show lower fatty-acid oxidation (FAO) rates. This has raised the question of whether burning off the excess fat could improve the obese metabolic phenotype. Here we used human-safe nonimmunoreactive adeno-associated viruses (AAV) to mediate long-term hepatic gene transfer of carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1A (CPT1A), the key enzyme in fatty-acid β-oxidation, or its permanently active mutant form CPT1AM, to high-fat diet-treated and genetically obese mice. High-fat diet CPT1A- and, to a greater extent, CPT1AM-expressing mice showed an enhanced hepatic FAO which resulted in increased production of CO(2) , adenosine triphosphate, and ketone bodies. Notably, the increase in hepatic FAO not only reduced liver triacylglyceride content, inflammation, and reactive oxygen species levels but also systemically affected a decrease in epididymal adipose tissue weight and inflammation and improved insulin signaling in liver, adipose tissue, and muscle. Obesity-induced weight gain, increase in fasting blood glucose and insulin levels, and augmented expression of gluconeogenic genes were restored to normal only 3 months after AAV treatment. Thus, CPT1A- and, to a greater extent, CPT1AM-expressing mice were protected against obesity-induced weight gain, hepatic steatosis, diabetes, and obesity-induced insulin resistance. In addition, genetically obese db/db mice that expressed CPT1AM showed reduced glucose and insulin levels and liver steatosis.
Conclusion: A chronic increase in liver FAO improves the obese metabolic phenotype, which indicates that AAV-mediated CPT1A expression could be a potential molecular therapy for obesity and diabetes.