The molecular mechanism to regulate energy balance is not completely understood. Here we observed that Egr-1 expression in white adipose tissue (WAT) was highly correlated with dietary-induced obesity and insulin resistance both in mice and humans. Egr-1 null mice were protected from diet-induced obesity and obesity-associated pathologies such as fatty liver, insulin resistance, hyperlipidemia and hyperinsulinemia. This phenotype can be largely explained by the increase of energy expenditure in Egr-1 null mice. Characterization of these mice revealed that the expression of FOXC2 and its target genes were significantly elevated in white adipose tissues, leading to WAT energy expenditure instead of energy storage. Altogether, these studies suggest an important role for Egr-1, which, by repressing FOXC2 expression, promotes energy storage in WAT and favored the development of obesity under high energy intake.
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