aP2-Cre mediated ablation of GHS-R attenuates adiposity and improves insulin sensitivity during aging

Ligen Lin, Jong Han Lee, Ruitao Wang, Ru Wang, David Sheikh-Hamad, Qun S. Zang, Yuxiang Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Ghrelin via its receptor, the growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHS-R), increases food intake and adiposity. The tissue-specific functions of GHS-R in peripheral tissues are mostly unknown. We previously reported that while GHS-R expression is very low in white and brown fat of young mice, expression increases during aging. To investigate whether GHS-R has cell-autonomous effects in adipose tissues, we generated aP2-Cre-mediated GHS-R knockdown mice (aP2-Cre/Ghsrf/f). We studied young (5–6 months) and old (15–17 months) aP2-Cre/Ghsrf/f mice and their age-matched controls. Interestingly, young aP2-Cre/Ghsrf/f mice had normal body weight but reduced fat; old mice showed pronounced reductions of both body weight and body fat. Calorimetry analysis revealed that aP2-Cre/Ghsrf/f mice had normal food intake and locomotor activity at both young and old age; but intriguingly, while energy expenditure was normal at young age, it was significantly increased at old age. Both young and old aP2-Cre/Ghsrf/f mice exhibited improved insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance. Importantly, old aP2-Cre/Ghsrf/f mice maintained higher core body temperature at 4C, and showed higher expression of the thermogenic uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) gene. The ex vivo studies further demonstrated that GHS-R deficient white adipocytes from old mice exhibit increased glucose uptake and lipolysis, promoting lipid mobilization. Despite the fact that the in vivo phenotypes of aP2-Cre/Ghsrf/f mice may not be exclusively determined by GHS-R knockdown in adipose tissues, our data support that GHS-R has cell-autonomous effects in adipocytes. The anabolic effect of GHS-R in adipocytes is more pronounced in aging, which likely contributes to age-associated obesity and insulin resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3002
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018


  • Adipose tissues
  • GHS-R
  • Ghrelin
  • Thermogenesis
  • Tissue-specific knockdown mice
  • UCP1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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