SCD1 is nutritionally and spatially regulated in the intestine and influences systemic postprandial lipid homeostasis and gut-liver crosstalk

Biochim Biophys Acta Mol Cell Biol Lipids. 2022 Jun 16;1867(9):159195. doi: 10.1016/j.bbalip.2022.159195. Online ahead of print.


Stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1 is an endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-membrane resident protein that inserts a double bond into saturated fatty acids, converting them into their monounsaturated counterparts. Previous studies have demonstrated an important role for SCD1 in modulating tissue and systemic health. Specifically, lack of hepatic or cutaneous SCD1 results in significant reductions in tissue esterified lipids. While the intestine is an important site of lipid esterification and assimilation into the body, the regulation of intestinal SCD1 or its impact on lipid composition in the intestine and other tissues has not been investigated. Here we report that unlike other lipogenic enzymes, SCD1 is enriched in the distal small intestine and in the colon of chow-fed mice and is robustly upregulated by acute refeeding of a high-sucrose diet. We generated a mouse model lacking SCD1 specifically in the intestine (iKO mice). These mice have significant reductions not only in intestinal lipids, but also in plasma triacylglycerols, diacylglycerols, cholesterol esters, and free cholesterol. Additionally, hepatic accumulation of diacylglycerols is significantly reduced in iKO mice. Comprehensive targeted lipidomic profiling revealed a consistent reduction in the myristoleic (14:1) to myristic (14:0) acid ratios in intestine, liver, and plasma of iKO mice. Consistent with the reduction of the monounsaturated fatty acid myristoleic acid in hepatic lipids of chow fed iKO mice, hepatic expression of Pgc-1α, Sirt1, and related fatty acid oxidation genes were reduced in chow-fed iKO mice. Further, lack of intestinal SCD1 reduced expression of de novo lipogenic genes in distal intestine of chow-fed mice and in the livers of mice fed a lipogenic high-sucrose diet. Taken together, these studies reveal a novel pattern of expression of SCD1 in the intestine. They also demonstrate that intestinal SCD1 modulates lipid content and composition of not only intestinal tissues, but also that of plasma and liver. Further, these data point to intestinal SCD1 as a modulator of gut-liver crosstalk, potentially through the production of novel signaling lipids such as myristoleic acid. These data have important implications to understanding how intestinal SCD1 may modulate risk for post-prandial lipemia, hepatic steatosis, and related pathologies.

Keywords: Delta-9 desaturase; Gut-liver crosstalk; MUFAs; Myristoleate; Postprandial lipemia.