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Liraglutide induces beige fat development and promotes mitochondrial function in diet induced obesity mice partially through AMPK-SIRT-1-PGC1-α cell signaling pathway

  • Joseph Zhou
  • Anil Poudel
  • Prashanth Chandramani-Shivalingappa
  • Biao Xu
  • Ryan Welchko
  • Lixin LiEmail author
Original Article



Glucagon like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is produced to induce postprandial insulin secretion. Liraglutide, a full agonist of the GLP-1 receptor, has a protective effect on weight gain in obese subjects. Brown adipose tissue plays a major role in the control of energy balance and is known to be involved in the weight loss regulated by liraglutide. The putative anti-obesity properties of liraglutide and the cell signaling pathways involved were examined.


Four groups of C57/BL6 mice fed with chow or HFHS diet were injected with either liraglutide or vehicle for four weeks. Western blotting was used to analyze protein expression.


Liraglutide significantly attenuated the weight gain in mice fed with HFHS diet and was associated with significant reductions of epididymal fat and inguinal fat mass. Furthermore, liraglutide significantly upregulated the expression of brown adipose-specific markers in perigonadal fat in association with upregulation of AMPK-SIRT-1-PGC1-α cell signaling. However, elevation of brown fat markers in skeletal muscle was only observed in HFHS diet fed mice after liraglutide treatment, and AMPK-SIRT-1 cell signaling is not involved in this process.


the anti-obesity effect of liraglutide occurs through adaptive thermogenesis and may act through different cell signaling pathways in fat and skeletal muscle tissue. Liraglutide induces beige fat development partially through the AMPK-SIRT-1-PGC1-α cell signaling pathway. Therefore, liraglutide is a potential medication for obesity prevention and in targeting pre-diabetics.


Liraglutide Insulin resistance Beige fat Diet induced obesity 



L.L. is supported by the new faculty start-up fund from Central Michigan University. The authors thank Jamsheed Bahaee, and Mellissa Andrew for their technical support and Darren Story for the editing of English grammar.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of MedicineCentral Michigan UniversityMount PleasantUSA
  2. 2.Department of Physician Assistant, College of Health ProfessionsCentral Michigan University MIMount PleasantUSA
  3. 3.Department of Cardiology, Drum Tower HospitalNanjing University Medical SchoolNanjingChina

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