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Insulin resistance, with adipose tissue dysfunction, is one of the hallmarks of metabolic syndrome. We have reported a metabolic syndrome-like phenotype in heme oxygenase (HO)-2 knockout mice, which presented with concurrent HO-1 deficiency and were amenable to rescue by an EET analog. Apo A-I mimetic peptides, such as L-4F, have been shown to induce HO-1 expression and decrease oxidative stress and adiposity. In this study we aimed to characterize alleviatory effects of HO-1 induction (if any) on metabolic imbalance observed in HO-2 KO mice. In this regard, HO-2(−/−) mice were injected with 2 mg/kg/day L-4F, or vehicle, i.p., for 6 weeks. As before, compared to WT animals, the HO-2 null mice were obese, displayed insulin resistance, and had elevated blood pressure. These changes were accompanied by enhanced tissue (hepatic) oxidative stress along with attenuation of HO-1 expression and activity and reduced adiponectin, pAMPK, and LKB1 expression. Treatment with L-4F restored HO-1 expression and activity and increased adiponectin, LKB1, and pAMPK in the HO-2(−/−) mice. These alterations resulted in a decrease in blood pressure, insulin resistance, blood glucose, and adiposity. Taken together, our results show that a deficient HO-1 response, in a state with reduced HO-2 basal levels, is accompanied by disruption of metabolic homeostasis which is successfully restored by an HO-1 inducer.


The copy of record is available from the publisher at Copyright © 2012 Jian Cao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.