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Reduced adipsin expression in murine obesity: effect of age and treatment with the sympathomimetic-thermogenic drug mixture ephedrine and caffeine.

- Lowell BB, Napolitano A, Usher P, Dulloo AG, Rosen BS, Spiegelman BM, Flier JS

Endocrinology. 1990 Mar;126(3):1514-20.

Adipsin gene expression is greatly diminished in certain forms of genetic and acquired obesity. In the present study we evaluate the time course for the development of adipsin deficiency in obesity and its regulation by the sympathomimetic-thermogenic drug mixture ephedrine and caffeine. Previously, it was unknown whether adipsin deficiency occurred before or after the development of massive obesity. In the first series of experiments in which mice were treated with monosodium glutamate (MSG) for the first week of life, we demonstrate that adipsin deficiency occurs early in the development of MSG-induced obesity as evidenced by decreased circulating adipsin concentrations by 1 week of age and deficient adipsin mRNA levels in white adipose tissue (WAT) by 2 weeks. In db/db mice, diminished circulating adipsin was noted at 2 weeks of age. In both models, decreased adipsin gene expression precedes the development of marked obesity. Little is known about the factors which regulate adipsin gene expression in obesity. Common to the ob/ob, db/db and MSG models is diminished thermogenesis and sympathetic nervous system activity. In a second series of experiments we sought to determine whether adipsin deficiency in obesity could be corrected by treatment with ephedrine and caffeine (E+C), a sympathomimetic-thermogenic mixture previously shown to increase thermogenesis and reverse obesity in some models. In the present study, E+C treatment of MSG obese mice reversed obesity and markedly increased serum adipsin and adipsin mRNA levels in WAT and brown adipose tissue (BAT). In ob/ob mice, however, E+C treatment produced a negligible increase in adipsin mRNA levels in WAT and BAT as well as serum adipsin concentrations and this correlated with only a very small decrease in obesity. Thus, the ability of E+C to increase adipsin gene expression correlated with its ability to reverse obesity in these two models. Finally, the effect of E+C on adipsin gene expression may not be exerted directly on the fat cell since treatment of cultured 3T3-F442A adipocytes and isolated rat adipocytes in primary culture produced no effect on adipsin mRNA or secreted protein despite a lipolytic effect as measured by increased glycerol release. In summary, decreased adipsin gene expression occurs early in the development of MSG and db/db obesity and is markedly increased in the MSG model by the sympathomimetic-thermogenic drug mixture, E+C, which also reverses obesity. Elucidation of the factors responsible for these effects may enhance our understanding of fat cell gene regulation and obesity.

This abstract at PubMed.