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Comparative Transcriptome Analysis Reveals That Exendin-4 Improves Steatosis in HepG2 Cells by Modulating Signaling Pathways Related to Lipid Metabolism

journal contribution
submitted on 2024-04-21, 07:28 and posted on 2024-04-21, 07:29 authored by Khaoula Errafii, Olfa Khalifa, Neyla S. Al-Akl, Abdelilah Arredouani

No therapy exists for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). However, glucagon-like peptide receptor agonists (GLP-1RAs) showed a beneficial effect on NAFLD, although the underpinning mechanisms remain unclear due to their pleiotropic effects. We examined the implicated signaling pathways using comparative transcriptomics in a cell model of steatosis to overcome pleiotropy. We treated steatotic HepG2 cells with the GLP-1RA Exendin-4 (Ex-4). We compared the transcriptome profiles of untreated steatotic, and Ex-4-treated steatotic cells, and used Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) to identify the signaling pathways and associated genes involved in the protective effect of Ex-4. Ex-4 treatment significantly reduces steatosis. RNA-seq analysis revealed 209 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between steatotic and untreated cells, with farnesoid X receptor/retinoid X receptor (FXR/RXR) (p = 8.9 × 10−7) activation being the top regulated canonical pathway identified by IPA. Furthermore, 1644 DEGs were identified between steatotic cells and Ex-4-treated cells, with liver X receptor/retinoid X receptor (LXR/RXR) (p = 2.02 × 10−7) and FXR/RXR (p = 3.28 × 10−7) activation being the two top canonical pathways. The top molecular and cellular functions between untreated and steatotic cells were lipid metabolism, molecular transport, and small molecular biochemistry, while organismal injury and abnormalities, endocrine system disorders, and gastrointestinal disease were the top three molecular and cellular functions between Ex-4-treated and steatotic cells. Genes overlapping steatotic cells and Ex-4-treated cells were associated with several lipid metabolism processes. Unique transcriptomic differences exist between steatotic cells and Ex-4-treated steatotic cells, providing an important resource for understanding the mechanisms that underpin the protective effect of GLP-1RAs on NAFLD and for the identification of novel therapeutic targets for NAFLD.

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Published in: Biomedicines
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  • English



Publication Year

  • 2022

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Hamad Bin Khalifa University
  • College of Health and Life Sciences - HBKU
  • Qatar Biomedical Research Institute - HBKU
  • Diabetes Research Center - QBRI

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