Adipocyte HDAC4 activation leads to beige adipocyte expansion and reduced adiposity

J Endocrinol. 2018 Nov 1;239(2):153-165. doi: 10.1530/JOE-18-0173.


Numerous studies have suggested that beige adipocyte abundance is correlated with improved metabolic performance, but direct evidence showing that beige adipocyte expansion protects animals from the development of obesity is missing. Previously, we have described that the liver kinase b1 (LKB1) regulates beige adipocyte renaissance in subcutaneous inguinal white adipose tissue (iWAT) through a class IIa histone deacetylase 4 (HDAC4)-dependent mechanism. This study investigates the physiological impact of persistent beige adipocyte renaissance in energy homeostasis in mice. Here we present that the transgenic mice H4-TG, overexpressing constitutively active HDAC4 in adipocytes, showed beige adipocyte expansion in iWAT at room temperature. H4-TG mice exhibited increased energy expenditure due to beige adipocyte expansion. They also exhibited reduced adiposity under both normal chow and high-fat diet (HFD) feeding conditions. Specific ablation of beige adipocytes reversed the protection against HFD-induced obesity in H4-TG mice. Taken together, our results directly demonstrate that beige adipocyte expansion regulates adiposity in mice and targeting beige adipocyte renaissance may present a novel strategy to tackle obesity in humans.

Keywords: HDAC4; adaptive thermogenesis; beige adipocytes; cell ablation; obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes, Beige / enzymology*
  • Adipose Tissue, White / cytology*
  • Adiposity*
  • Animals
  • Energy Metabolism*
  • Histone Deacetylases / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic


  • Hdac5 protein, mouse
  • Histone Deacetylases