Genetic Liver-Specific AMPK Activation Protects against Diet-Induced Obesity and NAFLD

Cell Rep. 2019 Jan 2;26(1):192-208.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.12.036.


The AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a highly conserved master regulator of metabolism, whose activation has been proposed to be therapeutically beneficial for the treatment of several metabolic diseases, including nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD, characterized by excessive accumulation of hepatic lipids, is the most common chronic liver disease and a major risk factor for development of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, type 2 diabetes, and other metabolic conditions. To assess the therapeutic potential of AMPK activation, we have generated a genetically engineered mouse model, termed iAMPKCA, where AMPK can be inducibly activated in vivo in mice in a spatially and temporally restricted manner. Using this model, we show that liver-specific AMPK activation reprograms lipid metabolism, reduces liver steatosis, decreases expression of inflammation and fibrosis genes, and leads to significant therapeutic benefits in the context of diet-induced obesity. These findings further support AMPK as a target for the prevention and treatment of NAFLD.

Keywords: AMPK; GEMM; NAFLD; lipid metabolism; liver steatosis; obesity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases / pharmacology
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / etiology*
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / genetics
  • Obesity / etiology*
  • Obesity / genetics


  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases