Background. Inflammation is generally suppressed during hibernation, but select tissues (e.g. lung) have been shown to activate both antioxidant and pro-inflammatory pathways, particularly during arousal from torpor when breathing rates increase and oxidative metabolism fueling the rewarming process produces more reactive oxygen species. Brown and white adipose tissues are now understood to be major hubs for the regulation of immune and inflammatory responses, yet how these potentially damaging processes are regulated by fat tissues during hibernation has hardly been studied. The advanced glycation end-product receptor (RAGE) can induce pro-inflammatory responses when bound by AGEs (which are glycated and oxidized proteins, lipids, or nucleic acids) or damage associated molecular pattern molecules (DAMPs, which are released from dying cells). Methods. Since gene expression and protein synthesis are largely suppressed during torpor, increases in AGE-RAGE pathway proteins relative to a euthermic control could suggest some role for these pro-inflammatory mediators during hibernation. This study determined how the pro-inflammatory AGE-RAGE signaling pathway is regulated at six major time points of the torpor-arousal cycle in brown and white adipose from a model hibernator, Ictidomys tridecemlineatus. Immunoblotting, RT-qPCR, and a competitive ELISA were used to assess the relative gene expression and protein levels of key regulators of the AGE-RAGE pathway during a hibernation bout. Results. The results of this study revealed that RAGE is upregulated as animals arouse from torpor in both types of fat, but AGE and DAMP levels either remain unchanged or decrease. Downstream of the AGE-RAGE cascade, nfat5 was more highly expressed during arousal in brown adipose. Discussion. An increase in RAGE protein levels and elevated mRNA levels of the downstream transcription factor nfat5 during arousal suggest the pro-inflammatory response is upregulated in adipose tissue of the hibernating ground squirrel. It is unlikely that this cascade is activated by AGEs or DAMPs. This research sheds light on how a fat-but-fit organism with highly regulated metabolism may control the pro- inflammatory AGE-RAGE pathway, a signaling cascade that is often dysregulated in other obese organisms.

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Keywords 13-lined ground squirrel, Adipose, AGE-RAGE, Damage-associated molecular pattern molecule, Hibernation, Inflammation, Torpor-arousal cycle
Persistent URL
Journal PeerJ
Logan, S.M. (Samantha M.), & Storey, K. (2018). Pro-inflammatory AGE-RAGE signaling is activated during arousal from hibernation in ground squirrel adipose. PeerJ, 2018(6). doi:10.7717/peerj.4911