Dysregulation of extracellular matrix proteins in obese adipose tissue (AT) induces systemic insulin resistance. The metabolic roles of type VI collagen and its cleavage peptide endotrophin in obese AT are well established. However, the mechanisms regulating endotrophin generation remain elusive. Herein, we identified that several endotrophin-containing peptides (pre-endotrophins) were generated from the COL6A3 chain in a stepwise manner for the efficient production of mature endotrophin, partly through the action of hypoxia-induced matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), including MMP2, MMP9, and MMP16. Hypoxia is an upstream regulator of COL6A3 expression and the proteolytic processing that regulates endotrophin generation. Hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF1α) and the hypoxia-associated suppression of microRNA-29 (miR-29) cooperatively control the levels of COL6A3 and MMPs, which are responsible for endotrophin generation in hypoxic ATs. Adipocyte-specific Hif1α knock-out (APN-HIF1αKO) mice fed a chronic high-fat diet exhibited the significant amelioration of both local fibro-inflammation in AT and systemic insulin resistance compared with their control littermates, partly through the inhibition of endotrophin generation. Strikingly, adenovirus-mediated miR-29 overexpression in the ATs of APN-HIF1αKO mice in obesity significantly decreased endotrophin levels, suggesting that miR-29, combined with HIF1α inhibition in AT, could be a promising therapeutic strategy for treating obesity and related metabolic diseases.

This article contains supplementary material online at https://doi.org/10.2337/figshare.19149275.

See accompanying article, p. 1617.

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