Separate and overlapping metabolic functions of LXRα and LXRβ in C57B1/6 female mice

Marion Korach-André, Paolo Parini, Lilian Larsson, Anders Arner, Knut R. Steffensen, Jan Åke Gustafsson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


The two liver X receptors (LXRs), LXRα and LXRβ, are transcriptional regulators of cholesterol, lipid, and glucose metabolism and are both activated by oxysterols. Impaired metabolism is linked with obesity, insulin resistance, and type 2-diabetes (T2D). In the present study, we aimed to delineate the specific roles of LXRα and -β in metabolic processes. C57Bl/6 female mice were fed a normal or a high-fat diet (HFD) and metabolic responses in wild-type, LXRα-/-, LXRβ-/-, and LXRαβ-/- mice were analyzed. Whole body fat and intramyocellular lipid contents were measured by nuclear magnetic resonance. Energy expenditure was measured in individual metabolic cages. Glucose, insulin, and pyruvate tolerance tests were performed and gene expression profiles analyzed by qPCR. We found that both LXRβ-/- and LXRαβ-/- mice are resistant to HFD-induced obesity independently of the presence of high cholesterol. Using tolerance tests, we found that, on an HFD, LXRβ-/- mice enhanced their endogenous glucose production and became highly insulin resistant, whereas LXRα-/- and LXRαβ-/- mice remained glucose tolerant and insulin sensitive. Gene expression profiling confirmed that LXRβ is the regulator of lipogenic genes in visceral white adipose tissue (WAT) and muscle tissue and, surprisingly, that Ucp1 and Dio2 are not responsible for the protection against diet-induced obesity observed in LXRβ-/- and LXRαβ-/- mice. LXRα is required for the control of cholesterol metabolism in the liver, while LXRβ appears to be a major regulator of glucose homeostasis and energy utilization and of fat storage in muscle and WAT. We conclude that selective LXRβ agonists would be novel pharmaceuticals in the treatment of T2D.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E167-E178
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2010


  • Insulin resistance
  • Liver X receptors
  • Metabolism
  • Nuclear magnetic resonance
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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