Author(s): Bursa BN, Djordjevic AD, Vasiljevi AD, Milutinovi DD, Velikovi NA
The rise in consumption of refined sugars high in fructose appears to be an important factor for the development of obesity and metabolic syndrome. Fructose has been shown to be involved in genesis and progression of the syndrome through deregulation of metabolic pathways in adipose tissue. There is evidence that enhanced glucocorticoid regeneration within adipose tissue, mediated by the enzyme 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase Type 1 (11βHSD1), may contribute to adiposity and metabolic disease. 11βHSD1 reductase activity is dependent on NADPH, a cofactor generated by hexose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (H6PDH). We hypothesized that harmful effects of long-term high fructose consumption could be mediated by alterations in prereceptor glucocorticoid metabolism and glucocorticoid signaling in the adipose tissue of male Wistar rats. We analyzed the effects of 9-week drinking of 10% fructose solution on dyslipidemia, adipose tissue histology and both plasma and tissue corticosterone level. Prereceptor metabolism of glucocorticoids was characterized by determining 11βHSD1 and H6PDH mRNA and protein levels. Glucocorticoid signaling was examined at the level of glucocorticoid receptor (GR) expression and compartmental redistribution, as well as at the level of expression of its target genes (GR, phosphoenolpyruvate carboxyl kinase and hormone-sensitive lipase). Fructose diet led to increased 11βHSD1 and H6PDH expression and elevated corticosterone level within the adipose tissue, which was paralleled with enhanced GR nuclear accumulation. Although the animals did not develop obesity, nonesterified fatty acid and plasma triglyceride levels were elevated, indicating that fructose, through enhanced prereceptor metabolism of glucocorticoids, could set the environment for possible later onset of obesity.