Author(s): Hennige AM, Staiger H, Wicke C, Machicao F, Fritsche A,
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Abstract BACKGROUND: The secreted liver protein fetuin-A (AHSG) is up-regulated in hepatic steatosis and the metabolic syndrome. These states are strongly associated with low-grade inflammation and hypoadiponectinemia. We, therefore, hypothesized that fetuin-A may play a role in the regulation of cytokine expression, the modulation of adipose tissue expression and plasma concentration of the insulin-sensitizing and atheroprotective adipokine adiponectin. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Human monocytic THP1 cells and human in vitro differenttiated adipocytes as well as C57BL/6 mice were treated with fetuin-A. mRNA expression of the genes encoding inflammatory cytokines and the adipokine adiponectin (ADIPOQ) was assessed by real-time RT-PCR. In 122 subjects, plasma levels of fetuin-A, adiponectin and, in a subgroup, the multimeric forms of adiponectin were determined. Fetuin-A treatment induced TNF and IL1B mRNA expression in THP1 cells (p<0.05). Treatment of mice with fetuin-A, analogously, resulted in a marked increase in adipose tissue Tnf mRNA as well as Il6 expression (27- and 174-fold, respectively). These effects were accompanied by a decrease in adipose tissue Adipoq mRNA expression and lower circulating adiponectin levels (p<0.05, both). Furthermore, fetuin-A repressed ADIPOQ mRNA expression of human in vitro differentiated adipocytes (p<0.02) and induced inflammatory cytokine expression. In humans in plasma, fetuin-A correlated positively with high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, a marker of subclinical inflammation (r = 0.26, p = 0.01), and negatively with total- (r = -0.28, p = 0.02) and, particularly, high molecular weight adiponectin (r = -0.36, p = 0.01). CONCLUSIONS AND SIGNIFICANCE: We provide novel evidence that the secreted liver protein fetuin-A induces low-grade inflammation and represses adiponectin production in animals and in humans. These data suggest an important role of fatty liver in the pathophysiology of insulin resistance and atherosclerosis.
This article was published in PLoS One
and referenced in Journal of Metabolic Syndrome