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Cell Signal. 2012 Feb;24(2):484-92. doi: 10.1016/j.cellsig.2011.09.029. Epub 2011 Oct 1.

Endoplasmic reticulum stress-induced CHOP activation mediates the down-regulation of leptin in human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells treated with the oxysterol 27-hydroxycholesterol.

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Department of Pharmacology, Physiology and Therapeutics, University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Grand Forks, ND 58202, USA.


Epidemiological studies have suggested an inverse relationship between the adipocytokine leptin and the onset of Alzheimer's disease (AD), and leptin supplementation decreases amyloid-β (Aβ) production and tau phosphorylation (p-tau), two major biochemical events that play a key role in the pathogenesis of AD. We have previously shown that the cholesterol oxidized product 27-hydroxycholesterol (27-OHC) inhibits leptin expression, an effect that correlated with increased levels of Aβ and p-tau. We have also shown that 27-OHC induces endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, a cellular response that is implicated in AD and confers leptin resistance. However the extent to which ER stress is involved in 27-OHC-induced attenuation in leptin expression has not been determined. In this study we determined the involvement of ER stress in the 27-OHC-induced attenuation of leptin expression in SH-SY5Y human neuroblastoma cells. We demonstrate that 27-OHC-induced ER stress attenuates leptin expression by activating C/EBP Homologous Protein (CHOP) which negatively regulates C/EBPα, a transcription factor required for leptin expression. The molecular chaperone 4-phenylbutyric acid (4-PBA) precludes 27-OHC-evoked ER stress and down-regulation of leptin. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the activation of the transcription factor CHOP in response to ER stress is pivotal in the attenuation of leptin expression as knocking-down CHOP alleviates the attenuation in leptin expression. Our study implicates ER stress as the mechanistic link in the 27-OHC-induced negative regulation of leptin, a hormone that has potential therapeutic effects in AD by reducing Aβ and phosphorylated tau accumulation.

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