Effects of Phosphatidylethanol on Mouse Adipocyte Differentiation and Expression of Stearoyl-CoA Desaturase 1

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Phosphatidylethanol (PEth) is an aberrant phospholipid formed in vivo only in the presence of ethanol. In circulation PEth is associated with lipoproteins and is transferred from one lipoprotein to another. Lipoprotein-associated PEth affects endothelial and smooth muscle cells of blood vessels, but its effects on other cell types have not been explored. Adipocytes have a central role in metabolic syndrome and obesity. In this study we tested whether lipoprotein-associated PEth affects stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 (SCD1) which plays a major role in lipid-mediated signaling in the differentiation of adipocytes.


Mouse 3T3-L1 preadipocytes were differentiated to adipocytes in the presence of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) isolated from the plasma of healthy volunteers or PEth-containing HDL modified in vitro. After incubation, fat accumulation, SCD1 mRNA expression, SCD1 protein content, and fatty acid composition of adipocytes were determined.


Phosphatidylethanol-containing HDL particles inhibited adipocyte differentiation and decreased the 18:1/18:0 ratio of cellular fatty acids by 28% compared with native HDL particles. Moreover, PEth-containing HDL reduced the SCD1 protein content by 39%.


Lipoprotein-associated PEth may mediate the effects of ethanol on SCD1 and differentiation of preadipocytes to adipocytes.

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