Widely used for their anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive properties, glucocorticoids are nonetheless responsible for the development of diabetes and lipodystrophy. Despite an increasing number of studies focused on the adipocyte glucocorticoid receptor (GR), its precise role in the molecular mechanisms of these complications has not been elucidated. In keeping with this goal, we generated a conditional adipocyte-specific murine model of GR invalidation (AdipoGR knockout [KO] mice). Interestingly, when administered a corticosterone treatment to mimic hypercorticism conditions, AdipoGR-KO mice exhibited an improved glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. This was related to the adipose-specific activation of the insulin-signaling pathway, which contributed to fat mass expansion, as well as a shift toward an anti-inflammatory macrophage polarization in adipose tissue of AdipoGR-KO animals. Moreover, these mice were protected against ectopic lipid accumulation in the liver and displayed an improved lipid profile, contributing to their overall healthier phenotype. Altogether, our results indicate that adipocyte GR is a key factor of adipose tissue expansion and glucose and lipid metabolism control, which should be taken into account in the further design of adipocyte GR-selective modulators.
- Received December 27, 2017.
- Accepted November 7, 2018.
- © 2018 by the American Diabetes Association.