GHS-R suppression in adipose tissues protects against obesity and insulin resistance by regulating adipose angiogenesis and fibrosis.
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BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Ghrelin is an orexigenic hormone that increases food intake, adiposity, and insulin resistance through its receptor Growth Hormone Secretagogue Receptor (GHS-R). We previously showed that ghrelin/GHS-R signaling has important roles in regulation of energy homeostasis, and global deletion of GHS-R reduces obesity and improves insulin sensitivity by increasing thermogenesis. However, it is unknown whether GHS-R regulates thermogenic activation in adipose tissues directly. METHODS: We generated a novel adipose tissue-specific GHS-R deletion mouse model and characterized the mice under regular diet (RD) and high-fat diet (HFD) feeding. Body composition was measured by Echo MRI. Metabolic profiling was determined by indirect calorimetry. Response to environmental stress was assessed using a TH-8 temperature monitoring system. Insulin sensitivity was evaluated by glucose and insulin tolerance tests. Tissue histology was analyzed by hematoxylin/eosin and immunofluorescent staining. Expression of genes involved in thermogenesis, angiogenesis and fibrosis in adipose tissues were analyzed by real-time PCR. RESULTS: Under RD feeding, adipose tissue-specific GHS-R deletion had little or no impact on metabolic parameters. However, under HFD feeding, adipose tissue-specific GHS-R deletion attenuated diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance, showing elevated physical activity and heat production. In addition, adipose tissue-specific GHS-R deletion increased expression of master adipose transcription regulator of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) 1 and adipokines of adiponectin and fibroblast growth factor (FGF) 21; and differentially modulated angiogenesis and fibrosis evident in both gene expression and histological analysis. CONCLUSIONS: These results show that GHS-R has cell-autonomous effects in adipocytes, and suppression of GHS-R in adipose tissues protects against diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance by modulating adipose angiogenesis and fibrosis. These findings suggest adipose GHS-R may constitute a novel therapeutic target for treatment of obesity and metabolic syndrome.