NYMC Faculty Publications


The Adipocyte Na/K-ATPase Oxidant Amplification Loop is the Central Regulator of Western Diet-Induced Obesity and Associated Comorbidities

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May 2019




Obesity has become a worldwide epidemic. We have previously reported that systemic administration of pNaKtide which targets the Na/K-ATPase oxidant amplification loop (NKAL) was able to decrease systemic oxidative stress and adiposity in mice fed a high fat and fructose supplemented western diet (WD). As adipocytes are believed to play a central role in the development of obesity and its related comorbidities, we examined whether lentiviral-mediated adipocyte-specific expression of NaKtide, a peptide derived from the N domain of the alpha1 Na/K-ATPase subunit, could ameliorate the effects of the WD. C57BL6 mice were fed a WD, which activated Na/K-ATPase signaling in the adipocytes and induced an obese phenotype and caused an increase in plasma levels of leptin, IL-6 and TNFalpha. WD also decreased locomotor activity, expression of the D2 receptor and tyrosine hydroxylase in brain tissue, while markers of neurodegeneration and neuronal apoptosis were increased following the WD. Selective adipocyte expression of NaKtide in these mice fed a WD attenuated all of these changes including the brain biochemical alterations and behavioral adaptations. These data suggest that adipocyte derived cytokines play an essential role in the development of obesity induced by a WD and that targeting the adipocyte NKAL loop may serve as an effective therapeutic strategy.