Myeloid-specific acat1 ablation attenuates inflammatory responses in macrophages, improves insulin sensitivity, and suppresses diet-induced obesity

Li Hao Huang, Elaina M. Melton, Haibo Li, Paul Sohn, Daeyoung Jung, Ching Yi Tsai, Tian Ma, Hiroyuki Sano, Hyekyung Ha, Randall H. Friedline, Jason K. Kim, Edward Usherwood, Catherine C.Y. Chang, Ta Yuan Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Macrophages are phagocytes that play important roles in health and diseases. Acyl-CoA:cholesterol acyltransferase 1 (ACAT1) converts cellular cholesterol to cholesteryl esters and is expressed in many cell types. Unlike global Acat1 knockout (KO), myeloid-specific Acat1 KO (Acat1-) does not cause overt abnormalities in mice. Here, we performed analyses in age-and sex-matched Acat1-M/-M and wild-type mice on chow or Western diet and discovered that Acat1-M/-M mice exhibit resistance to Western diet-induced obesity. On both chow and Western diets, Acat1-M/-M mice display decreased adipocyte size and increased insulin sensitivity. When fed with Western diet, Acat1-M/-M mice contain fewer infiltrating macrophages in white adipose tissue (WAT), with significantly diminished inflammatory phenotype. Without Acat1, the Ly6Chi monocytes express reduced levels of integrin-β1, which plays a key role in the interaction between monocytes and the inflamed endothe-lium. Adoptive transfer experiment showed that the appearance of leukocytes from Acat1-M/-M mice to the inflamed WAT of wild-type mice is significantly diminished. Under Western diet, Acat1-M/-M causes suppression of multiple proinflammatory genes in WAT. Cell culture experiments show that in RAW 264.7 macrophages, inhibiting ACAT1 with a small-molecule ACAT1-specific inhibitor reduces inflammatory responses to lipopolysaccharide. We conclude that under Western diet, blocking ACAT1 in macrophages attenuates inflammation in WAT. Other results show that Acat1-M/-M does not compromise antiviral immune response. Our work reveals that blocking ACAT1 suppresses diet-induced obesity in part by slowing down monocyte infiltration to WAT as well as by reducing the inflammatory responses of adipose tissue macrophages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E340-E356
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • ACAT
  • Cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Macrophage
  • Obesity


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