Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is a key organ that produces heat and increases energy expenditure; its regulatory factors could be clinically useful in the treatment of obesity and diabetes. Tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) is an essential co-factor of tyrosine hydroxylase and nitric oxide synthase. Our group recently showed that BH4 activates BAT function and regulates systemic energy metabolism using Hph-1 mice, a mouse model of BH4 deficiency in which GTP-cyclohydrolase I (GTPCH I), a rate-limiting enzyme of BH4, synthesis is deficient. Interestingly, we found that dysplasia of BAT already has been confirmed in the neonatal period. We investigated the role of BH4 in the development and differentiation of BAT using the mouse model of BH4 deficiency. Compared with control mice, Hph-1 neonatal mice exhibited lower weight of BAT as well as attenuated thermogenesis-related gene expressions (UCP1, Dio2, Pgc1a). We also evaluated the role of BH4 in brown adipocyte differentiation using brown pre-adipocytes isolated from control and Hph-1 mice. Compared with control mice, brown pre-adipocytes from Hph-1 mice reduced differentiation capacity measured by accumulated lipid droplets and thermogenesis-related gene expressions. In addition, inhibition of GTPCH I by 2,4-Diamino-6-Hydroxypyrimidine (DAHP) reduced differentiation capacity in brown pre-adipocytes. These data strongly suggest that BH4 is required for brown adipocyte differentiation. Furthermore, supplementation of BH4 in brown pre-adipocytes from Hph-1 mice dose-dependently increased accumulation of lipid droplets, thermogenesis-related gene expressions, and nitric oxide production. Taken together, BH4 plays an integral role in developmental differentiation of BAT, and has therapeutic potential for metabolic disorders such as obesity and diabetes.


H. Minamino: None. Y. Fujita: None. Y. Oguri: None. T. Goto: None. A. Ohashi: None. F. Furuya: None. N. Isomura: None. S. Kawarasaki: None. T. Kawada: None. H. Hasegawa: None. N. Inagaki: Research Support; Self; Astellas Pharma Inc., Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Daiichi Sankyo Company, Limited, Japan Tobacco Inc., Kyowa Hakko Kirin Co., Ltd., Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, Ono Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., Sanofi, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Co., Ltd., Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited.

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