Selective inhibition of Hypoxia-inducible factor 1α ameliorates adipose tissue dysfunction

Kai Sun, Nils Halberg, Mahmood Khan, Ulysses J. Magalang, Philipp E. Scherer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

155 Scopus citations


Hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF1α) induction in adipocytes is a critical component of the "fibrotic response," directly linked to metabolic dysfunction in adipose tissues under hypoxic conditions. We reasoned that inhibition of HIF1α may ameliorate the negative aspects of the obesity-associated fat pad expansion. We used the selective HIF1α inhibitor PX-478, whose effectiveness has previously been established in tumor models. We demonstrate that PX-478 treatment effectively suppresses the high-fat-diet (HFD)-induced HIF1α activation in adipose tissue. HIF1α inhibition causes a reduction of weight gain in mice on an HFD but not on a chow diet. Treatment increases energy expenditure and prompts resistance to HFD-mediated deterioration of metabolic parameters. Moreover, PX-478-treated mice have reduced fibrosis and fewer inflammatory infiltrates in their adipose tissues. We confirm the metabolic effects obtained with PX-478 treatment using an adipose tissue-specific, doxycycline-inducible dominant negative HIF1α mutant (dn-HIF1α). Consistent with the pharmacological results, genetic inhibition of endogenous HIF1α activity prompts similar metabolic improvements in HFD-fed mice. Collectively, our results demonstrate that HIF1α inhibition in the adipocyte leads to significant metabolic improvements, suggesting that selective HIF1α inhibition in adipose tissue may be an effective therapeutic avenue in the context of metabolic dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)904-917
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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