Chromatin modifications are sensitive to environmental and nutritional stimuli. Abnormalities in epigenetic regulation are associated with metabolic disorders such as obesity and diabetes that are often linked with defects in oxidative metabolism. Here, we evaluated the potential of class-specific synthetic inhibitors of histone deacetylases (HDACs), central chromatin-remodeling enzymes, to ameliorate metabolic dysfunction. Cultured myotubes and primary brown adipocytes treated with a class I–specific HDAC inhibitor showed higher expression of Pgc-1α, increased mitochondrial biogenesis, and augmented oxygen consumption. Treatment of obese diabetic mice with a class I– but not a class II–selective HDAC inhibitor enhanced oxidative metabolism in skeletal muscle and adipose tissue and promoted energy expenditure, thus reducing body weight and glucose and insulin levels. These effects can be ascribed to increased Pgc-1α action in skeletal muscle and enhanced PPARγ/PGC-1α signaling in adipose tissue. In vivo ChIP experiments indicated that inhibition of HDAC3 may account for the beneficial effect of the class I–selective HDAC inhibitor. These results suggest that class I HDAC inhibitors may provide a pharmacologic approach to treating type 2 diabetes.
- Received April 28, 2012.
- Accepted August 25, 2012.
- © 2012 by the American Diabetes Association.
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