The prostaglandin E2 receptor EP4 regulates obesity-related inflammation and insulin sensitivity

Mika Yasui, Yukinori Tamura, Manabu Minami, Sei Higuchi, Risako Fujikawa, Taichi Ikedo, Manabu Nagata, Hidenori Arai, Toshinori Murayama, Masayuki Yokode

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


With increasing body weight, macrophages accumulate in adipose tissue. There, activated macrophages secrete numerous proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines, giving rise to chronic inflammation and insulin resistance. Prostaglandin E2 suppresses macrophage activation via EP4; however, the role of EP4 signaling in insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes mellitus remains unknown. In this study, we treated db/db mice with an EP4-selective agonist, ONO-AE1-329, for 4 weeks to explore the role of EP4 signaling in obesity-related inflammation in vivo. Administration of the EP4 agonist did not affect body weight gain or food intake; however, in the EP4 agonist-treated group, glucose tolerance and insulin resistance were significantly improved over that of the vehicle-treated group. Additionally, administration of the EP4 agonist inhibited the accumulation of F4/80-positive macrophages and the formation of crown-like structures in white adipose tissue, and the adipocytes were significantly smaller. The treatment of the EP4 agonist increased the number of anti-inflammatory M2 macrophages, and in the stromal vascular fraction of white adipose tissue, which includes macrophages, it markedly decreased the levels of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines. Further, EP4 activation increased the expression of adiponectin and peroxidase proliferator-activated receptors in white adipose tissue. Next, we examined in vitro M1/M2 polarization assay to investigate the impact of EP4 signaling on determining the functional phenotypes of macrophages. Treatment with EP4 agonist enhanced M2 polarization in wild-type peritoneal macrophages, whereas EP4-deficient macrophages were less susceptible to M2 polarization. Notably, antagonizing peroxidase proliferator-activated receptor δ activity suppressed EP4 signaling-mediated shift toward M2 macrophage polarization. Thus, our results demonstrate that EP4 signaling plays a critical role in obesity-related adipose tissue inflammation and insulin resistance by regulating macrophage recruitment and polarization. The activation of EP4 signaling holds promise for treating obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0136304
JournalPloS one
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 26 2015
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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