Salicylate Downregulates 11β-HSD1 Expression in Adipose Tissue in Obese Mice and in Humans, Mediating Insulin Sensitization

  1. Brian R. Walker
  1. Endocrinology Unit, Centre for Cardiovascular Science, University of Edinburgh, Queen’s Medical Research Institute, Edinburgh, Scotland, U.K.
  1. Corresponding author: Mark Nixon, m.nixon{at}ed.ac.uk.

Abstract

Recent trials show salicylates improve glycemic control in type 2 diabetes, but the mechanism is poorly understood. Expression of the glucocorticoid-generating enzyme 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1) in adipose tissue is increased in vitro by proinflammatory cytokines and upregulated in obesity. 11β-HSD1 inhibition enhances insulin sensitivity. We hypothesized that salicylates downregulate 11β-HSD1 expression, contributing to their metabolic efficacy. We treated diet-induced obese (DIO) 11β-HSD1–deficient mice and C57Bl/6 mice with sodium salicylate for 4 weeks. Glucose tolerance was assessed in vivo. Tissue transcript levels were assessed by quantitative PCR and enzyme activity by incubation with 3H-steroid. Two weeks’ administration of salsalate was also investigated in a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled crossover study in 16 men, with measurement of liver 11β-HSD1 activity in vivo and adipose tissue 11β-HSD1 transcript levels ex vivo. In C57Bl/6 DIO mice, salicylate improved glucose tolerance and downregulated 11β-HSD1 mRNA and activity selectively in visceral adipose. DIO 11β-HSD1–deficient mice were resistant to these metabolic effects of salicylate. In men, salsalate reduced 11β-HSD1 expression in subcutaneous adipose, and in vitro salicylate treatment reduced adipocyte 11β-HSD1 expression and induced adiponectin expression only in the presence of 11β-HSD1 substrate. Reduced intra-adipose glucocorticoid regeneration by 11β-HSD1 is a novel mechanism that contributes to the metabolic efficacy of salicylates.

  • Received July 4, 2011.
  • Accepted December 21, 2011.

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  1. Diabetes vol. 61 no. 4 790-796
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