Vitamin D prevents lipid accumulation in murine muscle through regulation of PPARγ and perilipin-2 expression.

Research paper by Jiarong J Li, Milton M Mihalcioiu, Lifeng L Li, Mahvash M Zakikhani, Anne A Camirand, Richard R Kremer

Indexed on: 19 Oct '17Published on: 19 Oct '17Published in: The Journal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology


Vitamin D plays an important role in regulation of skeletal muscle tone and contraction. Serum vitamin D status is linked to muscle power and force in adolescent girls, and vitamin D deficiency is associated with myopathies in children and poorer physical performance in the elderly. We previously reported that vitamin D deficiency is linked to a significant increase in muscle fatty infiltration in healthy young women, and studies in patients with neuromuscular disorders also associate muscle weakening and lipid content. In order to better understand the link between vitamin D status and skeletal muscle lipid metabolism, we compared the effect of a low (25IU/Kg) or normal (1000IU/Kg) vitamin D3 diet on muscle fat in female FVB mice maintained in a room without UVB lighting to minimize endogenous vitamin D production. Animals on low vitamin D diet displayed lower circulating 25(OH)D levels and a dramatic increase (287±52% compared to normal diet, p<0.0001) in lipid deposition in skeletal muscle accompanied by muscle fiber disorganization. Lipid droplet staining increased by 242±23% (p<0.0001) in low vitamin D diet, and lipid droplet coat protein perilipin-2 and nuclear receptor transcription factor PPARγ expression levels were increased compared to mice fed the normal vitamin D diet: average staining for PLIN2: 0.22±0.08 (25IU/Kg diet) vs 0.10±0.02 (1000IU/Kg). Average staining for PPARγ: 0.24±0.06 (25IU/Kg diet) vs 0.07±0.04 (1000IU/Kg) p<0.0001. Tissue mass spectrometry imaging revealed major differences in muscle phospholipids profile depending on diet. In vitro, 1,25(OH)2D3 treatment of 3T3-L1 pre-adipocytes inhibited appearance of lipid droplets by 79±9.3%, and caused a 80±10% and 25±8% (p=0.001) reduction in PPARγ and perilipin-2 mRNA levels (by qPCR) compared to control cells. In summary, we report here the first in vivo model illustrating the important structural muscle fiber disorganization and fat accumulation inside and outside muscle fibers that accompany vitamin D deficiency. Furthermore, we show that the underlying mechanisms involve PPARγ and perilipin-2.

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