PPARbeta regulates vitamin A metabolism-related gene expression in hepatic stellate cells undergoing activation

Karine Hellemans, Krista Rombouts, Erik Quartier, Andrea S Dittié, Andreas Knorr, Liliane Michalik, Vera Rogiers, Frans Schuit, Walter Wahli, Andrea Geerts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Activation of cultured hepatic stellate cells correlated with an enhanced expression of proteins involved in uptake and storage of fatty acids (FA translocase CD36, Acyl-CoA synthetase 2) and retinol (cellular retinol binding protein type I, CRBP-I; lecithin:retinol acyltransferases, LRAT). The increased expression of CRBP-I and LRAT during hepatic stellate cells activation, both involved in retinol esterification, was in contrast with the simultaneous depletion of their typical lipid-vitamin A (vitA) reserves. Since hepatic stellate cells express high levels of peroxisome proliferator activated receptor beta (PPARbeta), which become further induced during transition into the activated phenotype, we investigated the potential role of PPARbeta in the regulation of these changes. Administration of L165041, a PPARbeta-specific agonist, further induced the expression of CD36, B-FABP, CRBP-I, and LRAT, whereas their expression was inhibited by antisense PPARbeta mRNA. PPARbeta-RXR dimers bound to CRBP-I promoter sequences. Our observations suggest that PPARbeta regulates the expression of these genes, and thus could play an important role in vitA storage. In vivo, we observed a striking association between the enhanced expression of PPARbeta and CRBP-I in activated myofibroblast-like hepatic stellate cells and the manifestation of vitA autofluorescent droplets in the fibrotic septa after injury with CCl4 or CCl4 in combination with retinol.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)280-295
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Lipid Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2003


  • Acetates/pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • CD36 Antigens/genetics
  • Carbon Tetrachloride/metabolism
  • Carrier Proteins/genetics
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Fatty Acid Binding Protein 3
  • Fatty Acid-Binding Protein 7
  • Fatty Acid-Binding Proteins
  • Fatty Acids/metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Hepatocytes/cytology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Phenols/pharmacology
  • Phenotype
  • Phenoxyacetates
  • Phosphatidylcholine-Sterol O-Acyltransferase/genetics
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear/metabolism
  • Receptors, Retinoic Acid/agonists
  • Retinoid X Receptors
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins/genetics
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins, Cellular
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Transcription Factors/agonists
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Vitamin A/metabolism


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