Delta-like homolog1/GATA binding protein 2 axis mediates leptin inhibition of PPARγ2 expression in hepatic stellate cells in vitro

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Peroxisome-proliferator activated receptor γ (PPARγ) plays a pivotal role in inhibition of hepatic stellate cell (HSC) activation, a key step for liver fibrogenesis. Adipocyte-derived hormone leptin has been shown to promote liver fibrosis in murine and human. PPARγ includes two subtypes, PPARγ1 and PPARγ2. Our previous study indicated that leptin down-regulated PPARγ1 expression in HSCs. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of leptin on PPARγ2 expression and the underlying mechanisms in HSCs.

Main methods:

Real-time PCR and western blot analyses were used to examine gene expression. The promoter activities were detected by luciferase assay.

Key findings:

Leptin reduced PPARγ2 expressions at promoter level, mRNA level, and protein level in HSCs, which required β-catenin, p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase, and delta-like homolog1 (DLK1) signaling pathways. Leptin induced GATA binding protein 2 (GATA2) expression through DLK1 pathway and GATA2 reduced PPARγ2 expression. Ectopic expression of PPARγ2 reduced the protein levels of α-smooth muscle actin and α1(I)collagen in HSCs.


Since obese patients, often accompanied by hyperleptinemia, are more prone to liver fibrosis, the data from this study might have potential implications for clarifying the mechanisms for liver fibrogenesis in obese patients with hyperleptinemia.

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