Disruption of lipid and carbohydrate homeostasis is an important factor in the development of prevalent metabolic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and atherosclerosis. Therefore, small molecules that could reduce insulin dependence and regulate dyslipidemia could have a dramatic effect on public health. The grapefruit flavonoid naringenin has been shown to normalize lipids in diabetes and hypercholesterolemia, as well as inhibit the production of HCV. Here, we demonstrate that naringenin regulates the activity of nuclear receptors PPARα, PPARγ, and LXRα. We show it activates the ligand-binding domain of both PPARα and PPARγ, while inhibiting LXRα in GAL4-fusion reporters. Using TR-FRET, we show that naringenin is a partial agonist of LXRα, inhibiting its association with Trap220 co-activator in the presence of TO901317. In addition, naringenin induces the expression of PPARα co-activator, PGC1α. The flavonoid activates PPAR response element (PPRE) while suppressing LXRα response element (LXRE) in human hepatocytes, translating into the induction of PPAR-regulated fatty acid oxidation genes such as CYP4A11, ACOX, UCP1 and ApoAI, and inhibition of LXRα-regulated lipogenesis genes, such as FAS, ABCA1, ABCG1, and HMGR. This effect results in the induction of a fasted-like state in primary rat hepatocytes in which fatty acid oxidation increases, while cholesterol and bile acid production decreases. Our findings explain the myriad effects of naringenin and support its continued clinical development. Of note, this is the first description of a non-toxic, naturally occurring LXRα inhibitor.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)