Chronic low-dose glucocorticoid treatment increases subcutaneous abdominal fat, but not visceral fat, of male Wistar rats
Most studies developed to investigate the effects of glucocorticoids chronic treatment on white adipose tissue uses high doses of these hormones. This study analyzes some effects of a chronic, continuous and steady infusion of low-dose hydrocortisone and the relationship with lipid accumulation in white adipose depots in rats.Main methods:
Nineteen male Wistar rats were divided into control (CON) and cortisol (CORT) groups. Along six weeks CORT group received continuous infusion of 0.6 mg/kg/day of hydrocortisone, while CON group received saline. After euthanasia, subcutaneous and visceral (retroperitoneal and mesenteric) fat pads were excised, weighted and analyzed for: lipogenic enzymes activity; molecular changes of 11-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11βHSD1) enzyme; enzymes involved in lipid uptake, incorporation, and metabolism and in fatty acids esterification. Besides, morphometric cell analysis was performed.Key findings:
CORT group showed increased triglycerides, changes in lipoprotein profile and 26,8% increment in central subcutaneous (SC) mass, while visceral fat pads masses remained unchanged. Adipocytes from SC, only, presented increased fatty acid synthase, ATP-citrate lyase and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase activity, in addition to reduced AMP-activated protein kinase and 11βHSD1 enzymes content.Significance:
Chronic low-dose hydrocortisone treatment consequences seem to be different from those commonly seen in long term hypercortisolism. While high doses promote lipid accumulation in visceral depots, a low dose showed an increase in central SC depot only. This appears to involve an increment in lipid storage and in de novo lipogenesis enzymes activity.