Hepatic steatosis is present in insulin-resistant obese rodents and is concomitant with active lipogenesis. Hepatic lipogenesis depends on the insulin-induced activation of the transcription factor SREBP-1c. Despite prevailing insulin resistance, SREBP-1c is activated in the livers of genetically and diet-induced obese rodents. Recent studies have reported the presence of an ER stress response in the livers of obese ob/ob mice. To assess whether ER stress promotes SREBP-1c activation and thus contributes to lipogenesis, we overexpressed the chaperone glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78) in the livers of ob/ob mice using an adenoviral vector. GRP78 overexpression reduced ER stress markers and inhibited SREBP-1c cleavage and the expression of SREBP-1c and SREBP-2 target genes. Furthermore, hepatic triglyceride and cholesterol contents were reduced, and insulin sensitivity improved, in GRP78-injected mice. These metabolic improvements were likely mediated by restoration of IRS-2 expression and tyrosine phosphorylation. Interestingly, GRP78 overexpression also inhibited insulin-induced SREBP-1c cleavage in cultured primary hepatocytes. These findings demonstrate that GRP78 inhibits both insulin-dependent and ER stress–dependent SREBP-1c proteolytic cleavage and explain the role of ER stress in hepatic steatosis in obese rodents.
Hélène L. Kammoun, Hervé Chabanon, Isabelle Hainault, Serge Luquet, Christophe Magnan, Tatsuro Koike, Pascal Ferré, Fabienne Foufelle