Int J Med Sci 2022; 19(9):1442-1450. doi:10.7150/ijms.74335 This issue

Research Paper

GnRH receptor mediates lipid storage in female adipocytes via AMPK pathway

Xiaoyong Li1✉, Xueyan Zhang1, Zhaojun Shen2, Zhengyun Chen1, Hanzhi Wang3, Xinmei Zhang1✉

1. Department of Gynecology, Women's Hospital School of Medicine Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310006, Zhejiang, People's Republic of China.
2. Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, The Fourth Affiliated Hospital, School of Medicine Zhejiang University, Yiwu, 322000, Zhejiang, People's Republic of China.
3. Central laboratory, Women's Hospital School of Medicine Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310006, Zhejiang, People's Republic of China.

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Citation:
Li X, Zhang X, Shen Z, Chen Z, Wang H, Zhang X. GnRH receptor mediates lipid storage in female adipocytes via AMPK pathway. Int J Med Sci 2022; 19(9):1442-1450. doi:10.7150/ijms.74335. Available from https://www.medsci.org/v19p1442.htm

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Abstract

Graphic abstract

Objective: Due to high levels of serum gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), perimenopausal or menopausal women, girls with central precocious puberty, women of polycystic ovary syndrome, and females receiving long-term GnRH agonist (GnRHa) treatment are at substantially higher risk of developing obesity. However, it remains poorly understood how GnRH affects body weight. Here, we explored whether the gonadotropin-releasing hormone receptor (GnRHR) was expressed in adipocytes and how GnRHR mediated lipid accumulation and the development of obesity.

Methods: The samples were from 18 patients with benign tumors operated between 01/2018 and 06/2018 at the Women's Hospital School of Medicine Zhejiang University. Immunofluorescence, Western Blotting, and RT-PCR were used to detect whether the GnRH receptor was expressed in the specimens and human preadipocytes-subcutaneous (HPA-s). The GnRH receptor agonist diphereline with different concentrations was used to stimulate the HPA-s cells for 24, 48, and CCK-8 was used to detect cell proliferation. Oil red-O staining was used to detect lipid droplets in mature adipocytes. The phosphorylation of AMPK-Ser485/Thr172 was detected by Western Blotting.

Results: GnRH receptor was expressed in all 18 human subcutaneous adipose tissue specimens. Cultured HPA-s expressed the GnRH receptor, and the expression increased during the process of cell maturation. The GnRH receptor agonist diphereline can stimulate the proliferation of HPA-s cells, which can advance the earliest occurrence of lipid droplets in HPA-s cells and the occurrence of lipid droplets in 50% cells by 1-2 days. Diphereline can stimulate the increase in the number of lipid droplets in mature adipocytes. The phosphorylation level of AMPK-Ser485/Thr172 in mature adipocytes was decreased by diphereline.

Conclusion: The GnRH receptor was expressed in adipocytes. As adipocytes mature, GnRH receptor expression gradually increased. GnRHa stimulates the proliferation of HPA-s, promotes adipocyte maturation, increases the formation of lipid droplets in mature adipocytes, and inhibits the activation of the AMPK pathway in adipocytes. Our findings may elucidate the mechanism of obesity in these female populations and provide some evidence on how GnRH contributes to obesity. Additionally, these results provide theoretical support for further research on the mechanisms of obesity, thus enhancing our understanding of the functional diversity of GnRH and establishing a new theoretical basis for the impact of GnRH on metabolism.

Keywords: Gonadotropin-releasing hormone, gonadotropin-releasing hormone receptor, adipocytes, AMP-activated protein kinases, obesity, women