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Adipocyte glucocorticoid receptors play a role in developing steroid diabetes

Osaka University researchers clarify part of mechanism behind the development of steroid diabetes

Osaka University

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IMAGE: Activation of adipocyte GRs restricted healthy adipose expansion, causing insulin resistance, liver steatosis, and eventually diabetes. view more 

Credit: Osaka University

Steroids are used for treating various diseases such as allergic disorders, but they occasionally cause adverse effects, such as steroid diabetes and other metabolic disturbances. Since steroids act throughout the body, how these adverse effects are caused and by which organ are not well understood.

Researchers at Osaka University focused on glucocorticoid receptors (GRs), the receptors for the body's endogenous steroids, clarifying part of the mechanism behind metabolic disturbances caused by steroids. The results of this research were published in Endocrinology.

The researchers administered steroids to adipocyte-specific GR knockout (AGRKO) mice and found that healthy adipose expansion was induced because lipid accumulation in the liver decreased and insulin sensitivity improved. Next, they examined how healthy adipose expansion was induced using AGRKO mice and found that adipocyte GRs inhibited lipid accumulation in adipose cells, preadipocyte proliferation, and glucose uptake, as well as lipolysis. That is, activation of adipocyte GRs restricted healthy adipose expansion, causing metabolic disturbances such as insulin resistance, liver steatosis, and eventually diabetes.

Corresponding author Yosuke Okuno says, "Our study elucidated how steroids activated adipocytes. Further development of the results of our study will clarify how steroids act on organs, leading to the development of drugs for treating steroid diabetes."

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The article, "Adipocyte GR inhibits healthy adipose expansion through multiple mechanisms in Cushing's syndrome" was published online in Endocrinology at DOI: https://doi.org/10.1210/en.2018-01029 and will be published in print on 1 March 2019.

About Osaka University

Osaka University was founded in 1931 as one of the seven imperial universities of Japan and now has expanded to one of Japan's leading comprehensive universities. The University has now embarked on open research revolution from a position as Japan's most innovative university and among the most innovative institutions in the world according to the Nature Index Innovation 2017. The university's ability to innovate from the stage of fundamental research through the creation of useful technology with economic impact stems from its broad disciplinary spectrum. Website: https://resou.osaka-u.ac.jp/en/top

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