Testosterone regulates 3T3-L1 pre-adipocyte differentiation and epididymal fat accumulation in mice through modulating macrophage polarization
Low testosterone levels are strongly related to obesity in males. The balance between the classically M1 and alternatively M2 polarized macrophages also plays a critical role in obesity. It is not clear whether testosterone regulates macrophage polarization and then affects adipocyte differentiation. In this report, we demonstrate that testosterone strengthens interleukin (IL) -4-induced M2 polarization and inhibits lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced M1 polarization, but has no direct effect on adipocyte differentiation. Cellular signaling studies indicate that testosterone regulates macrophage polarization through the inhibitory regulative G-protein (Gαi) mainly, rather than via androgen receptors, and phosphorylation of Akt. Moreover, testosterone inhibits pre-adipocyte differentiation induced by M1 macrophage medium. Lowering of serum testosterone in mice by injecting a luteinizing hormone receptor (LHR) peptide increases epididymal white adipose tissue. Testosterone supplementation reverses this effect. Therefore, our findings indicate that testosterone inhibits pre-adipocyte differentiation by switching macrophages to M2 polarization through the Gαi and Akt signaling pathways.