Exploring the role of miR-34a in regulating adipose inflammation during obesity

Lavery, Christopher Allan (2016) Exploring the role of miR-34a in regulating adipose inflammation during obesity. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Background: Obesity is not a new disease, with roots that can be traced back to 400 BC. However, with the staggering increase in individuals that are overweight and obese since the 1980s, now over a quarter of individuals in Europe and the Americas are classed as obese. This presents a global health problem that needs to be addressed with novel therapies.

It is now well accepted that obesity is a chronic, low-grade inflammatory condition that could predispose individuals to a number of comorbidities. Obesity is associated with cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and type 2 diabetes (T2D) as part of “the metabolic syndrome,” and as first identified by Dr Vauge, central distribution of white adipose tissue (WAT) is an important risk factor in the development of these diseases. Subsequently, visceral WAT (vWAT) was shown to be an important factor in this association with CVDs and T2D, and increasing inflammation. As the obese WAT expands, mainly through hypertrophy, there is an increase in inflammation that recruits numerous immune cells to the tissue that further exacerbate this inflammation, causing local and systemic inflammatory and metabolic effects. One of the main types of immune cell involved in this pathogenic process is pro-inflammatory M1 adipose tissue macrophages (ATMs).

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a species of small RNAs that post-transcriptionally regulate gene expression by targeting gene mRNA, causing its degradation or translational repression. These miRNAs are promiscuous, regulating numerous genes and pathways involved in a disease, making them useful therapeutic targets, but also difficult to study. miR-34a has been shown to increase in the serum, liver, pancreas, and subcutaneous (sc)WAT of patients with obesity, non- alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and T2D. Additionally, miR-34a has been shown to regulate a number of metabolic and inflammatory genes in numerous cell types, including those in macrophages. However, the role of miR-34a in regulating vWAT metabolism and inflammation is poorly understood.
Hypothesis: miR-34a is dysregulated in the adipose tissue during obesity, causing dysregulation of metabolic and inflammatory pathways in adipocytes and ATMs that contribute to adipose inflammation and obesity’s comorbidities, particularly T2D.

Method/Results: The role of miR-34a in adipose inflammation was investigated using a murine miR-34a-/- diet-induced obesity model, and primary in vitro models of adipocyte differentiation and inflammatory bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDMs). miR-34a was shown to be ubiquitously expressed throughout the murine epididymal (e)WAT of obese high-fat diet (HFD)-fed WT mice and ob/ob mice, as well as omental WAT from patients with obesity. Additionally, miR-34a transcripts were increased in the liver and brown adipose tissue (BAT) of ob/ob and HFD-fed WT mice, compared to WT controls.

When miR-34a-/- mice were fed HFD ad libitum for 24 weeks they were significantly heavier than their WT counterparts by the end of the study. Ex vivo examinations showed that miR-34a-/- eWAT had a smaller adipocyte area on chow, which significantly increased to WT levels during HFD-feeding. Additionally, miR-34a-/- eWAT showed basal increases in cholesterol and fatty acid metabolism genes Cd36, Hmgcr, Lxrα, Pgc1α, and Fasn. miR-34a-/- iBAT showed basal reductions in Cebpα and Cebpβ, with increased Pgc1α expression during HFD- feeding. The miR-34a-/- liver additionally showed increased basal transcript expression of Pgc1α, suggesting miR-34a may broadly regulate PGC1α. Accompanying the ex vivo changes in cholesterol and fatty acid metabolism genes, in vitro miR-34a-/- white adipocytes showed increased lipid content.

An F4/80high macrophage population was identified in HFD-fed miR-34a-/- eWAT, with increased Il-10 transcripts and serum IL-5 protein. Following these ex vivo observations, BMDMs from WT mice upregulated miR-34a expression in response to TNFα stimulation. Additionally, miR-34a-/- BMDMs showed an ablated CXCL1 response to TNFα.
Conclusion: These findings suggest miR-34a has a multi-factorial role in controlling a susceptibility to obesity, by regulating inflammatory and metabolic pathways, potentially through regulation of PGC1α.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: macrophage, obesity, inflammation, adipose, WAT, BAT, microRNA, diabetes, cardiovascular disease.
Subjects: Q Science > QR Microbiology > QR180 Immunology
Colleges/Schools: College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Cardiovascular & Metabolic Health
Supervisor's Name: Salt, Dr. Ian and Miller, Dr. Ashley M.
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Mr Christopher A. Lavery
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7796
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2016 13:40
Last Modified: 23 Dec 2016 10:12
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/7796

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