Several miRNAs have recently emerged as important regulators of brown and beige adipocyte differentiation and function. The microRNA miR-203 is enriched in brown fat. Guo et al. studied the role of miR-203 in vivo and found that upregulation of miR-203 could be used for the suppression of the interferon-γ (IFN-γ) signaling pathway. They also provide mechanistic insights that the cAMP-miR-203-IFN-γ network regulates inflammation response and white adipose tissue browning.
cAMP-MicroRNA-203-IFNγ network regulates subcutaneous white fat browning and glucose tolerance
Objective: Brown and beige adipocytes in humans and rodents are specialized to burn lipids for heat generation as a natural defense against cold and obesity, which is advantageous to metabolic homeostasis. MicroRNAs as another regulatory layer to regulate metabolic homeostasis attracted a lot of attentions. Our previous work revealed microRNA (miR)-203 as a brown adipocyte-enriched microRNA involved in brown adipocytes development. However, the potential role of miR-203 in adipose tissue metabolic homeostasis has not been determined in vivo. In this study, we investigate the potential role of miR-203 in subcutaneous white adipose tissue (sub-WAT) browning and metabolic homeostasis.
Methods: We investigated the relationship between miR-203 and energy homeostasis in adipose tissue from cold exposed, high fat diet (HFD) fed, ob/ob and db/db mice. The functions of miR-203 on sub-WAT browning were validated through miR-203 knockdown or overexpression. The miR-203 targeted signal pathway was screened by RNAseq analysis. Luciferase report assay, western blot, and qPCR were performed to establish the miR-203 related upstream and downstream signal pathway in vivo and in vitro. The functions of miR-203 on obesity and metabolic homeostasis were validated through GTT/ITT and western blot on high fat diet-induced obesity in C57 mice. ELISA was used to determine the concentration of IFN-γ. Flow cytometry analysis was performed to determine the infiltration of macrophages in adipose tissue.
Results: MiR-203 expression positively correlates with energy expenditure, and overexpression of miR-203 could enhance sub-WAT browning in normal diet (ND) condition. Mechanistically, the expression of miR-203 is activated by cAMP-dependent C/EBPβ up-regulation. Subsequently, miR-203 inhibits IFN-γ signal pathway activation by directly targeting Lyn, which is an activator of Jak1-Stat1. Moreover, the forced expression of miR-203 could improve insulin sensitivity and resist high fat diet-induced obesity by inhibiting IFN-γ.
Conclusions: MicroRNA-203 (miR-203) promotes white adipose tissue browning in cold exposed mice and improves glucose tolerance in HFD fed mice by repressing IFN-γ. Since miR-203 is activated by cAMP-dependent C/EBPβ up-regulation and directly represses IFN-γ signal pathway, we declare that miR-203 acts as a messenger between cAMP signal pathway and IFN-γ signal pathway.