Adipocyte glucocorticoid receptor activation with high glucocorticoid doses impairs healthy adipose tissue expansion by repressing angiogenesis (Équipe Fève)

November 14 - 2023


Diabetes. 2023 Nov 14:db230165. doi: 10.2337/db23-0165

In Human, glucocorticoids (GC) are commonly prescribed because of their anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive properties. However, high doses of GC often lead to adverse side effects including diabetes and lipodystrophy. We recently reported that adipocyte glucocorticoid receptor (GR)-deficient (AdipoGR-KO) mice under corticosterone (CORT) treatment exhibited a massive adipose tissue (AT) expansion associated with a paradoxical improvement of metabolic health compared to control mice. However, whether GR may control adipose development remains unclear. Here, we show a specific induction of the hypoxiainducible factor HIF-1alpha and the pro-angiogenic Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor-A expression in GR-deficient adipocytes of AdipoGR-KO mice as compared to control mice, together with an increased adipose vascular network, as assessed by 3D-analysis imaging. GR activation reduced HIF-1alpha recruitment on Vegfa promoter resulting from Hif-1alpha downregulation at the transcriptional and post-translational levels. Importantly, in CORT-treated AdipoGR-KO mice, the blockade of VEGFA by a soluble decoy receptor prevented AT expansion and the healthy metabolic phenotype. Finally, in subcutaneous AT from Cushing patients, higher VEGFA expression was associated with a better metabolic profile. Collectively, these results highlight that adipocyte GR negatively controls AT expansion and metabolic health through the down-regulation of the major angiogenic effector VEGFA and inhibiting vascular network development. (LIPOCUSH, NCT01688349).

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