Diabetol Metab Syndr 2020 15;12:32. Epub 2020 Apr 15.
Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Background: It is generally accepted that obesity can lead to metabolic disorders such as NAFLD and insulin resistance. However, the underlying mechanism has been poorly understood. Moreover, there is evidence to support the possible role of exosomes in the metabolic homeostasis regulation. Accordingly, we aimed to determine the effect of plasma circulating exosomes derived from obese and normal-weight women on insulin signaling and the secretion of hepatokines in human liver cells.
Methods: Plasma exosomes isolated from four obese (O-Exo) women and four normal-weight (N-Exo) female candidates were characterized for size, zeta potential, and CD63 protein expression and were used for stimulation of HepG2 cells. Then, cell viability, as well as levels of glycogen and triglyceride (TG), were evaluated. Levels of fetuin-A and FGF21 were measured using the ELISA kit. Expression of glucose 6-phosphatase (G6pase) and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK) genes were determined using qRT-PCR. Western blot analysis was carried out to evaluating the phosphorylation of GSK3β.
Results: The TG levels increased significantly in the cells treated with O-Exo than the control (vehicle) group (P = 0.005) and normal-weight group (P = 0.018). Levels of p-GSK3β and glycogen were significantly reduced by O-Exo in comparison with control (P = 0.002, P = 0.018, respectively). The mRNA expression of G6pase and PEPCK enzymes increased in the cells treated with O-Exo in comparison with the vehicle group (P = 0.017, P = 0.010, respectively). The levels of FGF21 in the supernatant of cells treated with O-Exo and N-Exo were significantly lower than the control group (P = 0.007).
Conclusion: It appears that obesity-related circulating exosomes can impair insulin signaling pathways and associated components, increase intracellular TG content, and decrease FGF21 secretion in the hepatocytes.