Fibrinolysis is initiated by tissue-type plasminogen activator (tPA) and inhibited by plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (PAI-1). In obese humans, plasma PAI-1 and tPA proteins are increased, but PAI-1 dominates, leading to reduced fibrinolysis and thrombosis. To understand tPA–PAI-1 regulation in obesity, we focused on hepatocytes, a functionally important source of tPA and PAI-1 that sense obesity-induced metabolic stress. We showed that obese mice, like humans, had reduced fibrinolysis and increased plasma PAI-1 and tPA, due largely to their increased hepatocyte expression. A decrease in the PAI-1 (SERPINE1) gene corepressor Rev-Erbα increased PAI-1, which then increased the tPA gene PLAT via a PAI-1/LRP1/PKA/p-CREB1 pathway. This pathway was partially counterbalanced by increased DACH1, a PLAT-negative regulator. We focused on the PAI-1/PLAT pathway, which mitigates the reduction in fibrinolysis in obesity. Thus, silencing hepatocyte PAI-1, CREB1, or tPA in obese mice lowered plasma tPA and further impaired fibrinolysis. The PAI-1/PLAT pathway was present in primary human hepatocytes, and associations among PAI-1, tPA, and PLAT in livers from obese and lean humans were consistent with these findings. Knowledge of PAI-1 and tPA regulation in hepatocytes in obesity may suggest therapeutic strategies for improving fibrinolysis and lowering the risk of thrombosis in this setting.
Ze Zheng, Keiko Nakamura, Shana Gershbaum, Xiaobo Wang, Sherry Thomas, Marc Bessler, Beth Schrope, Abraham Krikhely, Rui-Ming Liu, Lale Ozcan, José A. López, Ira Tabas