Interferon regulatory factor 9 protects against hepatic insulin resistance and steatosis in male mice

Xin An Wang, Ran Zhang, Dingsheng Jiang, Wei Deng, Shumin Zhang, Shan Deng, Jinfeng Zhong, Tao Wang, Li Hua Zhu, Li Yang, Shufen Hong, Sen Guo, Ke Chen, Xiao Fei Zhang, Zhigang She, Yingjie Chen, Qinglin Yang, Xiao Dong Zhang, Hongliang Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Obesity is a calorie-excessive state associated with high risk of diabetes, atherosclerosis, and certain types of tumors. Obesity may induce inflammation and insulin resistance (IR). We found that the expression of interferon (IFN) regulatory factor 9 (IRF9), a major transcription factor mediating IFN responses, was lower in livers of obese mice than in those of their lean counterparts. Furthermore, whole-body IRF9 knockout (KO) mice were more obese and had aggravated IR, hepatic steatosis, and inflammation after chronic high-fat diet feeding. In contrast, adenoviral-mediated hepatic IRF9 overexpression in both diet-induced and genetically (ob/ob) obese mice showed markedly improved hepatic insulin sensitivity and attenuated hepatic steatosis and inflammation. We further employed a yeast two-hybrid screening system to investigate the interactions between IRF9 and its cofactors. Importantly, we identified that IRF9 interacts with peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPAR-α), an important metabolism-associated nuclear receptor, to activate PPAR-α target genes. In addition, liver-specific PPAR-α overexpression rescued insulin sensitivity and ameliorated hepatic steatosis and inflammation in IRF9 KO mice. Conclusion: IRF9 attenuates hepatic IR, steatosis, and inflammation through interaction with PPAR-α.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)603-616
Number of pages14
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2013


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