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BMP4 Gene Therapy in Mature Mice Reduces BAT Activation but Protects from Obesity by Browning Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue.

Journal article
Authors Jenny M Hoffmann
John Grünberg
Christopher Church
Ivet Elias
Vilborg Palsdottir
John-Olov Jansson
Fatima Bosch
Ann Hammarstedt
Shahram Hedjazifar
Ulf Smith
Published in Cell reports
Volume 20
Issue 5
Pages 1038-1049
ISSN 2211-1247
Publication year 2017
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology
Institute of Medicine, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine
Pages 1038-1049
Language en
Subject categories Cell and Molecular Biology


We examined the effect of Bone Morphogenetic Protein 4 (BMP4) on energy expenditure in adult mature mice by targeting the liver with adeno-associated viral (AAV) BMP4 vectors to increase circulating levels. We verified the direct effect of BMP4 in inducing a brown oxidative phenotype in differentiating preadipocytes in vitro. AAV-BMP4-treated mice display marked browning of subcutaneous adipocytes, with increased mitochondria and Uncoupling Protein 1 (UCP1). These mice are protected from obesity on a high-fat diet and have increased whole-body energy expenditure, improved insulin sensitivity, reduced liver fat, and reduced adipose tissue inflammation. On a control diet, they show unchanged body weight but improved insulin sensitivity. In contrast, AAV-BMP4-treated mice showed beiging of BAT with reduced UCP1, increased lipids, and reduced hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL). Thus, BMP4 exerts different effects on WAT and BAT, but the overall effect is to enhance insulin sensitivity and whole-body energy expenditure by browning subcutaneous adipose tissue.

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