Fetal liver X receptor activation acutely induces lipogenesis but does not affect plasma lipid response to a high-fat diet in adult mice

Esther M. E. van Straten, Hester van Meer, Nicolette C. A. Huijkman, Theo H. van Dijk, Julius F. W. Baller, Henkjan J. Verkade, Folkert Kuipers, Torsten Plosch

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van Straten EM, van Meer H, Huijkman NC, van Dijk TH, Baller JF, Verkade HJ, Kuipers F, Plosch T. Fetal liver X receptor activation acutely induces lipogenesis but does not affect plasma lipid response to a high-fat diet in adult mice. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 297: E1171-E1178, 2009. First published September 1, 2009; doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00021.2009.-There is increasing evidence that the metabolic state of the mother during pregnancy affects long-term glucose and lipid metabolism of the offspring. The liver X receptors (LXR)alpha and -beta are key regulators of cholesterol, fatty acid, and glucose metabolism. LXRs are activated by oxysterols and expressed in fetal mouse liver from day 10 of gestation onward. In the present study, we aimed to elucidate whether in utero pharmacological activation of LXR would influence fetal fatty acid and glucose metabolism and whether this would affect lipid homeostasis at adult age. Exposure of pregnant mice to the synthetic LXR agonist T0901317 increased hepatic mRNA expression levels of Lxr target genes and hepatic and plasma triglyceride levels in fetuses and dams. T0901317 treatment increased absolute de novo synthesis and chain elongation of hepatic oleic acid in dams and fetuses. T0901317 exposure in utero influenced lipid metabolism in adulthood in a sex-specific manner; hepatic triglyceride content was increased (+45%) in male offspring and decreased in female offspring (-42%) when they were fed a regular chow diet compared with untreated sex controls. Plasma and hepatic lipid contents and hepatic gene expression patterns in adult male or female mice fed a high-fat diet were not affected by T0901317 pretreatment. We conclude that LXR treatment of pregnant mice induces immediate effects on lipid metabolism in dams and fetuses. Despite the profound changes during fetal life, long-term effects appeared to be rather mild and sex selective without modulating the lipid response to a high-fat diet.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E1171-E1178
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2009


  • fetus
  • lipid metabolism
  • gestation
  • long-term effects
  • LXR
  • GENE

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