Aims/hypothesis: Dysfunction of lipid metabolism in white adipose tissue can substantially interfere with health and quality of life, for example in obesity and associated metabolic diseases. Therefore, it is important to characterise pathways that regulate lipid handling in adipocytes and determine how they affect metabolic homeostasis. Components of the Janus kinase (JAK)-signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) pathway are involved in adipocyte physiology and pathophysiology. However, the exact physiological importance of the STAT family member STAT5 in white adipose tissue is yet to be determined. Here, we aimed to delineate adipocyte STAT5 functions in the context of lipid metabolism in white adipose tissue.
Methods: We generated an adipocyte specific knockout of Stat5 in mice using the Adipoq-Cre recombinase transgene followed by in vivo and in vitro biochemical and molecular studies.
Results: Adipocyte-specific deletion of Stat5 resulted in increased adiposity, while insulin resistance and gluconeogenic capacity was decreased, indicating that glucose metabolism can be improved by interfering with adipose STAT5 function. Basal lipolysis and fasting-induced lipid mobilisation were diminished upon STAT5 deficiency, which coincided with reduced levels of the rate-limiting lipase of triacylglycerol hydrolysis, adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL, encoded by Pnpla2) and its coactivator comparative gene identification 58 (CGI-58). In a mechanistic analysis, we identified a functional STAT5 response element within the Pnpla2 promoter, indicating that Pnpla2 is transcriptionally regulated by STAT5.
Conclusions/interpretation: Our findings reveal an essential role for STAT5 in maintaining lipid homeostasis in white adipose tissue and provide a rationale for future studies into the potential of STAT5 manipulation to improve outcomes in metabolic diseases.
Keywords: Adipose tissue; Energy metabolism; Lipolysis; STAT5.