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Tae Woo Jung, Yoon Hee Chung, Hyoung-Chun Kim, A M Abd El-Aty and Ji Hoon Jeong

Leukocyte cell-derived chemotaxin 2 (LECT2) is a recently identified novel hepatokine that causes insulin resistance in skeletal muscle by activating c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), thereby driving atherosclerotic inflammation. However, the role of LECT2 in inflammation and insulin resistance in adipocytes has not been investigated. In this study, we report that LECT2 treatment of differentiated 3T3-L1 cells stimulates P38 phosphorylation in a dose-dependent manner. LECT2 also enhanced inflammation markers such as IκB phosphorylation, nuclear factor kappa beta (NF-κB) phosphorylation and IL-6 expression. Moreover, LECT2 treatment impaired insulin signaling in differentiated 3T3-L1 cells, as evidenced by the decreased levels of insulin receptor substrate (IRS-1) and Akt phosphorylation and reduced insulin-stimulated glucose uptake. Furthermore, LECT2 augmented lipid accumulation during 3T3-L1 cell differentiation by activating SREBP1c-mediated signaling. All these effects were significantly abrogated by siRNA-mediated silencing of P38, CD209 expression or a JNK inhibitor. Our findings suggest that LECT2 stimulates inflammation and insulin resistance in adipocytes via activation of a CD209/P38-dependent pathway. Thus, these results suggest effective therapeutic targets for treating inflammation-mediated insulin resistance.

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Tae Woo Jung, Hyoung-Chun Kim, Yong Kyoo Shin, Hyeyoung Min, Seong-Wan Cho, Zi Soo Kim, Su Mi Han, A M Abd El-Aty, Ahmet Hacımüftüoğlu and Ji Hoon Jeong

An aqueous extract of Humulus japonicus (AH) has been documented to ameliorate hypertension and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Here, we investigated the effects of an aqueous extract of AH on thermogenesis and palmitate-induced oxidative stress in adipocytes. To verify the effect of AH on browning, we measured the expression levels of specific markers in 3T3-L1 adipocytes using qPCR and Western blotting, respectively. To assess the role of oxidative stress, cells were stained with DCFDA and observed by fluorescence microscopy. AH increased the expression of brown adipose tissue-specific markers. Additionally, it induced fatty acid oxidation and lipolysis and suppressed both lipogenic markers and lipid accumulation. Furthermore, AH ameliorated hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative stress. Enhanced expression of these markers contributed to fat browning, fatty acid oxidation and lipolysis of 3T3-L1 adipocytes via the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor delta (PPARδ) signaling pathways. Moreover, AMPK and PPARδ resulting in protective effects of AH against oxidative stress. In sum, AH could promote the browning, lipolysis and thermogenesis in 3T3-L1 adipocytes and would suppress the hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative stress and lipogenesis during differentiation. We therefore suggest that AH could be used as a potential candidate for treating obesity and related metabolic disorders.