Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Life Sciences

Major Professor

Naima Moustaid-Moussa

Committee Members

Brynn H. Voy, Arnold M. Saxton, Guoxun Chen


Adipose tissue is well-recognized as an endocrine organ which secretes a variety of bioactive molecules, including angiotensin II and its precursor angiotensinogen (Agt). There is mounting evidence linking the adipose renin-angiotensin system (RAS) and diet to obesity and obesity-related disorders. However, research addressing dietary regulation and function of adipose RAS is limited, and the specific mechanisms by which PUFAs modulate the endocrine function of adipose tissue remain largely unclear. There are several potential mechanisms that may mediate PUFA effects on Agt, including toll-like receptor signalling, prostaglandins or PPAR-gamma. Thus, we propose to investigate whether PUFAs differentially modulate Agt expression and secretion and to examine possible mechanisms by which PUFA alter Agt expression using the 3T3-L1 cell line.

Differentiated 3T3-L1 adipocytes were treated with arachidonic acid (AA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), AA + EPA, or vehicle (C) for 48 hours. Results showed a significant increase in intracellular Agt protein following treatment with PUFAs. Agt secretion, however, was only increased by AA. Interestingly, there is a dose-dependent decrease in Agt protein levels by EPA suggesting that a minimum concentration of n-3 PUFAs is required to elicit an Agt response. Agt mRNA levels were measured by RT-PCR and results showed a significant increase in Agt mRNA in response to treatment with AA but not EPA. These findings suggest that Agt regulation by PUFAs is complex and occurs both post-transcriptionally and post-translationally.

Changes in mRNA stability may account for the observed effects of PUFAs. Adipocytes were treated with the transcriptional inhibitor actinomycin D (Act D) and Agt mRNA expression was measured over time. Total RNA was also measured at each time point to ensure that Act D treatment was effectively decreasing transcription. Agt mRNA expression was not significantly altered by treatment with EPA while treatment with AA increased Agt mRNA levels. These results suggest that Agt mRNA stability is differentially increased by n-6 but not n-3 PUFAs. Although there are clear effects of AA on Agt secretion and mRNA stability, the signaling pathways mediating this response remain to be determined, and additional studies are necessary to further dissect the underlying mechanisms of this regulation.

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