Hepatic adropin is regulated by estrogen and contributes to adverse metabolic phenotypes in ovariectomized mice

Joshua Stokar, Irina Gurt, Einav Cohen-Kfir, Oran Yakubovsky, Noa Hallak, Hadar Benyamini, Natan Lishinsky, Neta Offir, Joseph Tam, Rivka Dresner-Pollak*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: Menopause is associated with visceral adiposity, hepatic steatosis and increased risk for cardiovascular disease. As estrogen replacement therapy is not suitable for all postmenopausal women, a need for alternative therapeutics and biomarkers has emerged. Methods: 9-week-old C57BL/6 J female mice were subjected to ovariectomy (OVX) or SHAM surgery (n = 10 per group), fed a standard diet and sacrificed 6- & 12 weeks post-surgery. Results: Increased weight gain, hepatic triglyceride content and changes in hepatic gene expression of Cyp17a1, Rgs16, Fitm1 as well as Il18, Rares2, Retn, Rbp4 in mesenteric visceral adipose tissue (VAT) were observed in OVX vs. SHAM. Liver RNA-sequencing 6-weeks post-surgery revealed changes in genes and microRNAs involved in fat metabolism in OVX vs. SHAM mice. Energy Homeostasis Associated gene (Enho) coding for the hepatokine adropin was significantly reduced in OVX mice livers and strongly inversely correlated with weight gain (r = −0.7 p < 0.001) and liver triglyceride content (r = −0.4, p = 0.04), with a similar trend for serum adropin. In vitro, Enho expression was tripled by 17β-estradiol in BNL 1 ME liver cells with increased adropin in supernatant. Analysis of open-access datasets revealed increased hepatic Enho expression in estrogen treated OVX mice and estrogen dependent ERα binding to Enho. Treatment of 5-month-old OVX mice with Adropin (i.p. 450 nmol/kg/twice daily, n = 4,5 per group) for 6-weeks reversed adverse adipokine gene expression signature in VAT, with a trended increase in lean body mass and decreased liver TG content with upregulation of Rgs16. Conclusions: OVX is sufficient to induce deranged metabolism in adult female mice. Hepatic adropin is regulated by estrogen, negatively correlated with adverse OVX-induced metabolic phenotypes, which were partially reversed with adropin treatment. Adropin should be further explored as a potential therapeutic target and biomarker for menopause-related metabolic derangement.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number101482
JournalMolecular Metabolism
StatePublished - Jun 2022

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  • Adropin
  • Estrogen
  • Fatty Liver
  • Menopause
  • OVX
  • Transcriptome


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