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J Biol Chem. 2001 Apr 6;276(14):10853-60. Epub 2001 Jan 12.

The regulation of uncoupling protein-2 gene expression by omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids in human skeletal muscle cells involves multiple pathways, including the nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor beta.

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INSERM U449, Faculté de Médecine René Laennec, Université Claude Bernard Lyon-1, and CRNHL Faculté de Médecine René Laennec, Université Claude Bernard Lyon-1, 69372 Lyon, France.


Fatty acids have been postulated to regulate uncoupling protein (UCP) gene expression in skeletal muscle in vivo. We have identified, at least in part, the mechanism by which polyunsaturated fatty acids increase UCP-2 expression in primary culture of human muscle cells. omega-6 fatty acids and arachidonic acid induced a 3-fold rise in UCP-2 mRNA levels possibly through transcriptional activation. This effect was prevented by indomethacin and mimicked by prostaglandin (PG) E(2) and carbaprostacyclin PGI(2), consistent with a cyclooxygenase-mediated process. Incubation of myotubes for 6 h with 100 micrometer arachidonic acid resulted in a 150-fold increase in PGE(2) and a 15-fold increase in PGI(2) in the culture medium. Consistent with a role of cAMP and protein kinase A, both prostaglandins induced a marked accumulation of cAMP in human myotubes, and forskolin reproduced the effect of arachidonic acid on UCP-2 mRNA expression. Inhibition of protein kinase A with H-89 suppressed the effect of PGE(2), whereas cPGI(2) and arachidonic acid were still able to increase ucp-2 gene expression, suggesting additional mechanisms. We found, however, that the MAP kinase pathway was not involved. Prostaglandins, particularly PGI(2), are potent activators of the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors. A specific agonist of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) beta (L165041) increased UCP-2 mRNA levels in myotubes, whereas activation of PPARalpha or PPARgamma was ineffective. These results suggest thus that ucp-2 gene expression is regulated by omega-6 fatty acids in human muscle cells through mechanisms involving at least protein kinase A and the nuclear receptor PPARbeta.

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