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Zhousheng Jin, Fangfang Xia, Jiaojiao Dong, Tingting Lin, Yaoyao Cai, Jiali Chen, Xixi Chen, Zhenyang Huang, Quanguang Wang, Hongfei Chen, and Junkai Zhang

Glucocorticoid excess often causes a variety of cardiovascular complications, including hypertension, atherosclerosis, and cardiac hypertrophy. To abrogate its cardiac side effects, it is necessary to fully disclose the pathophysiological role of glucocorticoid in cardiac remodelling. Previous clinical and experimental studies have found that omentin-1, one of the adipokines, has beneficial effects in cardiovascular diseases, and is closely associated with metabolic disorders. However, there is no evidence to address the potential role of omentin-1 in glucocorticoid excess-induced cardiac injuries. To uncover the links, the present study utilized rat model with glucocorticoid-induced cardiac injuries and clinical patients with abnormal cardiac function. Chronic administration of glucocorticoid excess reduced rat serum omentin-1 concentration, which closely correlated with cardiac functional parameters. Intravenous administration of adeno-associated virus encoding omentin-1 upregulated the circulating omentin-1 level and attenuated glucocorticoid excess-induced cardiac hypertrophy and functional disorders. Overexpression of omentin-1 also improved cardiac mitochondrial function, including the reduction of lipid deposits, induction of mitochondrial biogenesis, and enhanced mitochondrial activities. Mechanistically, omentin-1 phosphorylated and activated the GSK3β pathway in the heart. From a study of 28 patients with Cushing’s syndrome and 23 healthy subjects, the plasma level of glucocorticoid was negatively correlated with omentin-1, and was positively associated with cardiac ejection fraction and fractional shortening. Collectively, the present study provided a novel role of omentin-1 in glucocorticoid excess-induced cardiac injuries and found that the omentin-1/GSK3β pathway was a potential therapeutic target in combating the side effects of glucocorticoid.