1. Medical School of Ningbo University, Ningbo 315211, China.
2. Ningbo College of Health Sciences, Ningbo 315100, China.
3. Laboratory of Metabolism, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
*These authors contributed equally to this work.
Rationale: Light pollution leads to high risk of obesity but the underlying mechanism is not known except for the influence of altered circadian rhythm. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α (PPARα) regulates lipid metabolism, but its role in circadian-related obesity is not clear.
Methods: Wild-type (WT) and Ppara-null (KO) mice on a high-fat diet (HFD) were treated with neon light at night for 6 weeks. Body weights were recorded and diet consumption measured. The hypothalamus, liver, adipose and serum were collected for mechanism experimentation.
Results: WT mice on a HFD and exposed to night neon light gained about 19% body weight more than the WT control mice without light exposure and KO control mice on a HFD and exposed to night neon light. The increase in adipose tissue weight and adipocyte size led to the differences in body weights. Biochemical analysis suggested increased hepatic lipid accumulated and increased transport of lipid from the liver to peripheral tissues in the WT mice that gained weight under neon light exposure. Unlike KO mice, the expression of genes involved in lipid metabolism and the circadian factor circadian locomotor output cycles kaput (CLOCK) in both liver and adipose tissues were elevated in WT mice under neon light exposure.
Conclusions: PPARα mediated weight gain of HFD-treated mice exposed to night neon light. More lipids were synthesized in the liver and transported to peripheral tissue leading to adaptive metabolism and lipid deposition in the adipose tissue. These data revealed an important mechanism of obesity induced by artificial light pollution where PPARα was implicated.
Keywords: PPARα, weight gain, neon light, lipid homeostasis, circadian rhythm