Endothelial Cells Induced Progenitors Into Brown Fat to Reduce Atherosclerosis

Kyoungmin Park, Qian Li, Matthew D. Lynes, Hisashi Yokomizo, Ernesto Maddaloni, Takanori Shinjo, Ronald St-Louis, Qin Li, Sayaka Katagiri, Jialin Fu, Allen Clermont, Hyunseok Park, I. Hsien Wu, Marc Gregory Yu, Hetal Shah, Yu Hua Tseng, George L. King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Insulin resistance (IR) can increase atherosclerotic and cardiovascular risk by inducing endothelial dysfunction, decreasing nitric oxide (NO) production, and accelerating arterial inflammation. The aim is to determine the mechanism by which insulin action and NO production in endothelial cells can improve systemic bioenergetics and decrease atherosclerosis via differentiation of perivascular progenitor cells (PPCs) into brown adipocytes (BAT). Methods: Studies used various endothelial transgenic and deletion mutant ApoE-/-mice of insulin receptors, eNOS (endothelial NO synthase) and ETBR (endothelin receptor type B) receptors for assessments of atherosclerosis. Cells were isolated from perivascular fat and micro-vessels for studies on differentiation and signaling mechanisms in responses to NO, insulin, and lipokines from BAT. Results: Enhancing insulin's actions on endothelial cells and NO production in ECIRS1 transgenic mice reduced body weight and increased systemic energy expenditure and BAT mass and activity by inducing differentiation of PPCs into beige/BAT even with high-fat diet. However, positive changes in bioenergetics, BAT differentiation from PPCs and weight loss were inhibited by N(gamma)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME), an inhibitor of eNOS, in ECIRS1 mice and eNOSKO mice. The mechanism mediating NO's action on PPC differentiation into BAT was identified as the activation of solubilized guanylate cyclase/PKGIα (cGMP protein-dependent kinase Iα)/GSK3β (glycogen synthase kinase 3β) pathways. Plasma lipidomics from ECIRS1 mice with NO-induced increased BAT mass revealed elevated 12,13-diHOME production. Infusion of 12,13-diHOME improved endothelial dysfunction and decreased atherosclerosis, whereas its reduction had opposite effects in ApoE-/-mice. Conclusions: Activation of eNOS and endothelial cells by insulin enhanced the differentiation of PPC to BAT and its lipokines and improved systemic bioenergetics and atherosclerosis, suggesting that endothelial dysfunction is a major contributor of energy disequilibrium in obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-183
Number of pages16
JournalCirculation research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 8 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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