CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein β (C/EBPβ) expression regulates dietary-induced inflammation in macrophages and adipose tissue in mice

Shaikh M. Rahman, Rachel C. Janssen, Mahua Choudhury, Karalee C. Baquero, Rebecca M. Aikens, Becky A. De La Houssaye, Jacob E. Friedman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Strong evidence exists for a link between chronic low level inflammation and dietary-induced insulin resistance; however, little is known about the transcriptional networks involved. Here we show that high fat diet (HFD) or saturated fatty acid exposure directly activates CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein β (C/EBPβ) protein expression in liver, adipocytes, and macrophages. Global C/EBPβ deletion prevented HFD-induced inflammation and surprisingly increased mitochondrial gene expression in white adipose tissue along with brown adipose tissue markers PRDM16, CIDEa, and UCP1, consistent with a resistance to HFD-induced obesity. In isolated peritoneal macrophages from C/EBPβ-/- mice, the anti-inflammatory gene LXRα and its targets SCD1 and DGAT2 were strikingly up-regulated along with IL-10, while NLRP3, a gene important for activating the inflammasome, was suppressed in response to palmitate. Using RAW 264.7 macrophage cells or 3T3-L1 adipocytes, C/EBPβ knockdown prevented palmitate-induced inflammation and p65-NFκB DNA binding activity, while C/EBPβ overexpression induced NFκB binding, JNK activation, and pro-inflammatory cytokine gene expression directly. Finally, chimeric bone marrow mice transplanted with bone marrow lacking C/EBPβ-/- demonstrated reduced systemic and adipose tissue inflammatory markers, macrophage content, and maintained insulin sensitivity on HFD. Taken together, these results demonstrate that HFD or palmitate exposure triggers C/EBPβ expression that controls expression of distinct aspects of alternative macrophage activation. Reducing C/EBPβ in macrophages confers protection from HFD-induced systemic inflammation and insulin resistance, suggesting it may be an attractive therapeutic target for ameliorating obesity-induced inflammatory responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34349-34360
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number41
StatePublished - Oct 5 2012


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