Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Michael B. Zemel

Committee Members

Jay Whelan, Jean Skinner


Several recent reports from this laboratory demonstrate a regulatory role for intracellular Ca2+ ([Ca2+]1) in modulating lipid metabolism in both human and murine adipocytes, with increased [Ca2+]1 coordinately stimulating lipogenesis and inhibiting lipolysis, thereby expanding lipid mass. Further, we have recently demonstrated that 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin-D3 [1,25-(OH)2-D3] stimulates adipocyte membrane vitamin D receptor (mVDR)-mediated rapid Ca2+ influx into adipocytes, resulting in the stimulation of lipogenesis and inhibition of lipolysis. However, increasing [Ca2+]1 in the early stages of differentiation inhibits human adipocyte differentiation, whereas increasing [Ca2+]1 in the late stage promotes human adipocyte differentiation Accordingly, we have investigated the role of 1,25-(OH)2-D3 in the differentiation of 3T3-L1 preadipocytes, using triglyceride (TG) accumulation and glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GPDH) as markers. 3T3-L1 preadipocytes were placed in differentiation media upon confluence, and exposed to varying amounts (0, 1nM, and 10nM) of 1,25-(OH)2-D3 for either one-hour pulses or for sustained (24 hrs or 48 hrs) amounts of time throughout the differentiation process Exposure to one-hour pulses of 1nM 1,25-(OH)2-D3 throughout differentiation caused modest decreases (31%-38%) in TG accumulation (p<0.0001), with one-hour pulse exposure to 10nM 1,25-(OH)2-D3 having little to no effect on TG accumulation. One-hour pulse exposure to both 1nM and 10nM 1,25-(OH)2-D3 suppressed GPDH activity early, but not late in differentiation. Sustained (24-hour) exposure to 1,25-(OH)2-D3 (1nM and 10nM) inhibited differentiation at 0-24 hrs, with decreases in both TG and GPDH of 41-81% (p<0.0001). Similarly, sustained exposure of 1,25-(OH)2-D3 resulted in marked inhibition of GPDH activity and TG accumulation early in differentiation. In contrast, sustained exposure late in differentiation exerted no significant effects on either marker of differentiation PPAR-γ and pref-1 expression were also used as markers of differentiation. One-hour pulses of 10nM 1,25-(OH)2-D3 did not cause any changes in PPAR-γ expression compared to control. Sustained exposure to 1,25-(OH)2-D3 throughout differentiation decreased PPAR-γ expression, with a 92% decrease from 0-48h (p<0.0001). One-hour pulses of 1,25-(OH)2-D3 had no effect on Pref-1 expression, with the exception of an increase in expression at 47-48 hr (p<0.0001). Sustained exposure to 10nM 1,25-(OH)2-D3 at 0-48 hrs, 24-48 hrs and 47- 48 hrs all caused significant increases (125%-146%) in the expression of Pref-1 (p<0.001). Thus, although 1,25-(OH)2-D3 stimulates lipogenesis, inhibits lipolysis and increases TG accumulation in mature human and murine adipocytes, it also modestly inhibits the differentiation of preadipocytes into mature adipocytes.

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