c-Jun, a prominent member of the activator protein 1 family, is involved in various physiological processes such as cell death and survival. However, the role of hepatic c-Jun in whole-body metabolism is poorly understood. Xiao, Guo, and colleagues found that hepatic c-Jun regulates glucose metabolism via fibroblast growth factor 21 and modulates body temperature through neural signaling. This study provides new insights into the crosstalk between different tissues in the regulation of whole-body metabolism and the transcriptional regulation of FGF21.
Hepatic c-Jun regulates glucose metabolism via FGF21 and modulates body temperature through the neural signals
Objective: c-Jun, a prominent member of the activator protein 1 (AP-1) family, is involved in various physiology processes such as cell death and survival. However, a role of hepatic c-Jun in the whole-body metabolism is poorly understood.
Methods: We generated liver-specific c-Jun knock-out (c-jun△li) mice to investigate the effect of hepatic c-Jun on the whole-body physiology, particularly in blood glucose and body temperature. Primary hepatocytes were also used to explore a direct regulation of c-Jun in gluconeogenesis.
Results: c-jun△li mice showed higher hepatic gluconeogenic capacity compared with control mice, and similar results were obtained in vitro. In addition, fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) expression was directly inhibited by c-Jun knockdown and adenovirus-mediated hepatic FGF21 over-expression blocked the effect of c-Jun on gluconeogenesis in c-jun△li mice. Interestingly, c-jun△li mice also exhibited higher body temperature, with induced thermogenesis and uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) expression in brown adipose tissue (BAT). Furthermore, the body temperature became comparable between c-jun△li and control mice at thermoneutral temperature (30 °C). Moreover, the activity of sympathetic nervous system (SNS) was increased in c-jun△li mice and the higher body temperature was inhibited by beta-adrenergic receptor blocker injection. Finally, the activated SNS and increased body temperature in c-jun△li mice was most likely caused by the signals from the brain and hepatic vagus nerve, as the expression of c-Fos (the molecular marker of neuronal activation) was changed in several brain areas controlling body temperature and body temperature was decreased by selective hepatic vagotomy.
Conclusions: These data demonstrate a novel function of hepatic c-Jun in the regulation of gluconeogenesis and body temperature via FGF21 and neural signals. Our results also provide novel insights into the organ crosstalk in the regulation of the whole-body physiology.