The CB1 receptor antagonist rimonabant reverses the diet-induced obesity phenotype through the regulation of lipolysis and energy balance

Author(s): Jbilo O, Ravinet-Trillou C, Arnone M, Buisson I, Bribes E


We investigated the molecular events involved in the long-lasting reduction of adipose mass by the selective CB1 antagonist, SR141716. Its effects were assessed at the transcriptional level both in white (WAT) and brown (BAT) adipose tissues in a diet-induced obesity model in mice. Our data clearly indicated that SR141716 reversed the phenotype of obese adipocytes at both macroscopic and genomic levels. First, oral treatment with SR141716 at 10 mg/kg/d for 40 days induced a robust reduction of obesity, as shown by the 50% decrease in adipose mass together with a major restoration of white adipocyte morphology similar to lean animals. Second, we found that the major alterations in gene expression levels induced by obesity in WAT and BAT were mostly reversed in SR141716-treated obese mice. Importantly, the transcriptional patterns of treated obese mice were similar to those obtained in the CB1 receptor knockout mice fed a high-fat regimen and which are resistant to obesity, supporting a CB1 receptor-mediated process. Functional analysis of these modulations indicated that the reduction of adipose mass by the molecule resulted from an enhanced lipolysis through the induction of enzymes of the beta-oxidation and TCA cycle, increased energy expenditure, mainly through futile cycling (calcium and substrate), and a tight regulation of glucose homeostasis. These changes accompanied a significant cellular remodeling and contributed to a reduction of the obesity-related inflammatory status. In addition to a transient reduction of food consumption, increases of both fatty acid oxidation and energy expenditure induced by the molecule summate leading to a sustained weight loss. Altogether, these data strongly indicate that the endocannabinoid system has a major role in the regulation of energy metabolism.

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