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Dysregulation of microRNA-125a contributes to obesity-associated insulin resistance and dysregulates lipid metabolism in mice

Rui Liu, Meina Wang, Enjie Li, Yang Yang, Jiaxin Li, Siyu Chen, Wen-Jun Shen, Salman Azhar, Zhigang Guo, Zhigang Hu
Biochimica et biophysica acta 2020 v.1865 no.5 pp. 158640
animal models, drugs, enzymes, fatty acids, fatty liver, high fat diet, human cell lines, insulin, insulin resistance, lipid metabolism, mice, microRNA, noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, obesity, pathogenesis, risk, therapeutics
Obesity is associated with an increased risk of developing insulin resistance (IR) and type 2 diabetes (T2D). A diverse group of factors including miRNA has been implicated in the pathogenesis of these two metabolic conditions, although underlying molecular mechanisms involved are not well defined. Here, we provide evidence that hepatic miR-125a levels are diminished in both genetic as well as dietary mouse models of obesity. Overexpression of miR-125a enhanced insulin signaling and attenuated cellular lipid accumulation in HepG2 cells and Hepa1–6 cells. Likewise, treatment of mice with ago-miR-125a increased insulin sensitivity, similar to overexpression of miR-125a, whereas treatment of mice with antago-miR-125a blunted the insulin sensitivity. Furthermore, overexpression of miR-125a in mice previously fed a high-fat diet (HFD), significantly improved insulin sensitivity, and attenuated obesity-linked hepatic steatosis and hepatocyte lipid accumulation. In addition, we show that ELOVL fatty acid elongase 6 (Elovl6) is a direct target of miR-125a, and participates in miR-125a mediated regulation of insulin sensitivity and lipid metabolism. These data led us to conclude that dysregulated miR-125a expression augments the development of obesity-induced IR and that miR-125a might serve as a therapeutic target for the development of new drug(s) in the clinical management of metabolic diseases.