LFABP plays a critical role in the uptake and intracellular transport of fatty acids (FA) and other peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARα) ligands. PPARα activation by PPARα ligands bound to LFABP results in gene expression of FA oxidation enzymes and de novo LFABP. The cytokine IL-6 is involved in regulating liver lipid oxidation.
To study the ability of IL-6 to modulate the expression of the LFABP in hepatocytes. Methods: HepG2 and mouse primary hepatocytes were used to test LFABP mRNA and protein expression after IL-6 and PPARα-ligand treatments. Mice lacking IL-6 and wild-type C57Bl/6 were subjected to a fasting/re-feeding cycle to monitor hepatic LFABP mRNA kinetics after food intake.
In hepatocyte cultures, IL-6 treatment stimulated a LFABP mRNA sustained expression. Combined treatment of IL-6 plus PPARα ligands further enhanced LFABP gene and protein expression. In contrast, pretreatment with the PPARα-antagonist GW-6471 prevented the up-regulation of LFABP mRNA induced by IL-6 in the late phase of LFABP kinetics. Furthermore, the up-regulation of LFABP mRNA observed in the liver of wild-type mice 8 h after re-feeding was absent in mice lacking IL-6.
IL-6 induces LFABP kinetics in hepatocytes and is partially dependent on PPARα. The maximum increase in LFABP expression occurs when the stimulation with IL-6 and PPARα-ligands takes place simultaneously. The in vivo results indicate a postprandial regulation of LFABP that correlates with the presence of IL-6. These effects may have important implications in the postprandial increase in FA uptake and intracellular trafficking in the liver.