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Mol Cell. 2001 Nov;8(5):971-82.

Cytokine stimulation of energy expenditure through p38 MAP kinase activation of PPARgamma coactivator-1.

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Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Department of Cell Biology, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Cachexia is a chronic state of negative energy balance and muscle wasting that is a severe complication of cancer and chronic infection. While cytokines such as IL-1alpha, IL-1beta, and TNFalpha can mediate cachectic states, how these molecules affect energy expenditure is unknown. We show here that many cytokines activate the transcriptional PPAR gamma coactivator-1 (PGC-1) through phosphorylation by p38 kinase, resulting in stabilization and activation of PGC-1 protein. Cytokine or lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced activation of PGC-1 in cultured muscle cells or muscle in vivo causes increased respiration and expression of genes linked to mitochondrial uncoupling and energy expenditure. These data illustrate a direct thermogenic action of cytokines and p38 MAP kinase through the transcriptional coactivator PGC-1.

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