Short and long term in vivo effects of Cyclosporine A and Sirolimus on genes and proteins involved in lipid metabolism in Wistar rats

Metabolism. 2014 May;63(5):702-15. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2014.02.004. Epub 2014 Feb 11.


Objective: Cyclosporine A (CsA) and sirolimus (SRL) are immunosuppressive agents (IA) associated with new onset diabetes after transplantation and dyslipidemia. We aim to evaluate the molecular effects of CsA (5mg/kg/day) and SRL (1mg/kg/day) treatment for 3 and 9weeks on lipid metabolism, in Wistar rats.

Materials/methods: Lipolysis was evaluated in isolated adipocytes, while triglycerides (TG) and non-esterified fatty acid (NEFA) were measured in serum. Gene and protein expression involved in lipid metabolism was assessed in adipose tissue and liver.

Results: CsA and SRL treatments of rats for 3 and 9weeks increased isoproterenol-stimulated lipolysis by 5-9 fold and 4-6 fold in isolated adipocytes, respectively. While CsA increased adipocyte weight and diameter, as well as NEFA and TG levels in circulation after 9weeks, SRL treatment caused ectopic deposition of TG in the liver after 3weeks. Moreover, ACC1 and FAS protein expression was increased after 3weeks (>100%, p<0.01), while HSL was increased after 9weeks of CsA treatment. On the other hand, SRL decreased the expression of lipogenic genes, including ACC1 (50%, p<0.05), lipin1 (25%, p<0.05), PPAR-γ (42%, p<0.05) and SCD1 (80%, p<0.001) in adipose tissue, after 3weeks of treatment.

Conclusion: The effects of both IAs on expression of lipolytic and lipogenic genes suggest that these agents influence lipid metabolism, thus contributing to the dyslipidemia observed during immunosuppressive therapy.

Keywords: Adipocytes; Dyslipidemia; Immunosuppressive therapy; Liver.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / drug effects*
  • Adipocytes / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue / drug effects
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cyclosporine / pharmacology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Lipid Metabolism / genetics*
  • Lipolysis / drug effects
  • Lipolysis / genetics
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sirolimus / pharmacology*
  • Time Factors


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Proteins
  • Cyclosporine
  • Sirolimus