Aims/hypothesis: Elevated hepatic lipase (HL, also known as LIPC) expression is a key factor in the development of the atherogenic lipid profile in type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance. Recently, genetic screens revealed a possible association of type 2 diabetes and familial combined hyperlipidaemia with the USF1 gene. Therefore, we investigated the role of upstream stimulatory factors (USFs) in the regulation of HL. Methods: Levels of USF1, USF2 and HL were measured in HepG2 cells cultured in normal- or high-glucose medium (4.5 and 22.5 mmol/l, respectively) and in livers of streptozotocin-treated rats. Results: Nuclear extracts of cells cultured in high glucose contained 2.5±0.5-fold more USF1 and 1.4±0.2-fold more USF2 protein than cells cultured in normal glucose (mean±SD, n=3). This coincided with higher DNA binding of nuclear proteins to the USF consensus DNA binding site. Secretion of HL (2.9±0.5-fold), abundance of HL mRNA (1.5±0.2- fold) and HL (-685/+13) promoter activity (1.8±0.3-fold) increased in parallel. In chromatin immunoprecipitation assays, the proximal HL promoter region was immunoprecipitated with anti-USF1 and anti-USF2 antibodies. Co-transfection with USF1 or USF2 cDNA stimulated HL promoter activity 6- to 16-fold. USF and glucose responsiveness were significantly reduced by removal of the -310E-box from the HL promoter. Silencing of the USF1 gene by RNA interference reduced glucose responsiveness of the HL (-685/+13) promoter region by 50%. The hyperglycaemia in streptozotocin-treated rats was associated with similar increases in USF abundance in rat liver nuclei, but not with increased binding of USF to the rat Hl promoter region. Conclusions/interpretation: Glucose increases HL expression in HepG2 cells via elevation of USF1 and USF2. This mechanism may contribute to the development of the dyslipidaemia that is typical of type 2 diabetes.

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Diabetologia: clinical and experimental diabetes and metabolism
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van Deursen, D., Jansen, H., & Verhoeven, A. (2008). Glucose increases hepatic lipase expression in HepG2 liver cells through upregulation of upstream stimulatory factors 1 and 2. Diabetologia: clinical and experimental diabetes and metabolism, 51(11), 2078–2087. doi:10.1007/s00125-008-1125-6