Long-term glucocorticoid (GC) treatment induces central fat accumulation and metabolic dysfunction. We demonstrate that microRNA-27b (miR-27b) plays a central role in the pathogenesis of GC-induced central fat accumulation. Overexpression of miR-27b had the same effects as dexamethasone (DEX) treatment on the inhibition of brown adipose differentiation and the energy expenditure of primary adipocytes. Conversely, antagonizing miR-27b function prevented DEX suppression of the expression of brown adipose tissue-specific genes. GCs transcriptionally regulate miR-27b expression through a GC receptor-mediated direct DNA-binding mechanism, and miR-27b suppresses browning of white adipose tissue (WAT) by targeting the three prime untranslated region of Prdm16. In vivo, antagonizing miR-27b function in DEX-treated mice resulted in the efficient induction of brown adipocytes within WAT and improved GC-induced central fat accumulation. Collectively, these results indicate that miR-27b functions as a central target of GC and as an upstream regulator of Prdm16 to control browning of WAT and, consequently, may represent a potential target in preventing obesity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism