Glucocorticoid Receptor Signaling Is Not Required for in Vivo Adipogenesis

Kevin T. Bauerle, Irina Hutson, Erica L. Scheller, Charles A. Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Regulation of adipogenesis is of major interest given that adipose tissue expansion and dysfunction are central to metabolic syndrome. Glucocorticoids (GCs) are important for adipogenesis in vitro. However, establishing a role for GCs in adipogenesis in vivo has been difficult. GC receptor (GR)-null mice die at birth, a time at which wild-type (WT) mice do not have fully developed white adipose depots. We conducted several studies aimed at defining the role of GC signaling in adipogenesis in vitro and in vivo. First, we showed that GR-null mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) have compromised ability to form adipocytes in vitro, a phenotype that can be partially rescued with a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ 3 agonist. Next, we demonstrated that MEFs are capable of forming de novo fat pads in mice despite the absence of GR or circulating GCs [by bilateral adrenalectomy (ADX)]. However, ADX and GR-null fat pads and their associated adipocyte areas were smaller than those in controls. Second, using adipocyte-specific luciferase reporter mice, we identified adipocytes in both WT and GR-null embryonic day (E)18 mouse embryos. Lastly, positive perilipin staining in WT and GR-null E18 embryos confirmed the presence of early white inguinal and brown adipocytes. Taken together, these results provide compelling evidence that GCs and GR augment but are not required for the development of functional adipose tissue in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2050-2061
Number of pages12
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2018


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