AMPK mediates energetic stress-induced liver GDF15

Growth differentiating factor-15 (GDF15) is an emerging target for the treatment of obesity and metabolic disease partly due to its ability to suppress food intake. GDF15 expression and secretion are thought to be regulated by a cellular integrated stress response, which involves endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. AMPK is another cellular stress sensor, but the relationship between AMPK, ER stress, and GDF15 has not been assessed in vivo. Wildtype (WT), AMPK β1 deficient (AMPKβ1-/- ), and CHOP-/- mice were treated with three distinct AMPK activators; AICAR, which is converted to ZMP mimicking the effects of AMP on the AMPKγ isoform, R419, which indirectly activates AMPK through inhibition of mitochondrial respiration, or A769662, a direct AMPK activator which binds the AMPKβ1 isoform ADaM site causing allosteric activation. Following treatments, liver Gdf15, markers of ER-stress, AMPK activity, adenine nucleotides, circulating GDF15, and food intake were assessed. AICAR and R419 caused ER and energetic stress, increased GDF15 expression and secretion, and suppressed food intake. Direct activation of AMPK β1 containing complexes by A769662 increased hepatic Gdf15 expression, circulating GDF15, and suppressed food intake, independent of ER stress. The effects of AICAR, R419, and A769662 on GDF15 were attenuated in AMPKβ1-/- mice. AICAR and A769662 increased GDF15 to a similar extent in WT and CHOP-/- mice. Herein, we provide evidence that AMPK plays a role in mediating the induction of GDF15 under conditions of energetic stress in mouse liver in vivo.

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