Endothelial-Specific Expression of CIDEC Improves High-Fat Diet-Induced Vascular and Metabolic Dysfunction

Bijinu Balakrishnan, Abhishek Gupta, Rabia Basri, Vishva M. Sharma, Mark Slayton, Kailey Gentner, Chloe C. Becker, Shakun Karki, Harrison Muturi, Sonia M. Najjar, Analia S. Loria, Noyan Gokce, Vishwajeet Puri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Cell death-inducing DNA fragmentation factor-α-like effector C (CIDEC), originally identified to be a lipid droplet-associated protein in adipocytes, positively associates with insulin sensitivity. Recently, we discovered that it is expressed abundantly in human endothelial cells and regulates vascular function. The current study was designed to characterize the physiological effects and molecular actions of endothelial CIDEC in the control of vascular phenotype and whole-body glucose homeostasis. To achieve this, we generated a humanized mouse model expressing endothelial-specific human CIDEC (E-CIDECtg). E-CIDECtg mice exhibited protection against high-fat diet-induced glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, and dyslipidemia. Moreover, these mice displayed improved insulin signaling and endothelial nitric oxide synthase activation, enhanced endothelium-dependent vascular relaxation, and improved vascularization of adipose tissue, skeletal muscle, and heart. Mechanistically, we identified a novel interplay of CIDEC-vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGFA)-vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2) that reduced VEGFA and VEGFR2 degradation, thereby increasing VEGFR2 activation. Overall, our results demonstrate a protective role of endothelial CIDEC against obesity-induced metabolic and vascular dysfunction, in part, by modulation of VEGF signaling. These data suggest that CIDEC may be investigated as a potential future therapeutic target for mitigating obesity-related cardiometabolic disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-32
Number of pages14
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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