Loss of intestinal GATA4 prevents diet-induced obesity and promotes insulin sensitivity in mice.
Transcriptional regulation of small intestinal gene expression controls plasma total cholesterol (TC) and triglyceride (TG) levels, which are major determinants of metabolic diseases. GATA4, a zinc finger domain transcription factor, is critical for jejunal identity, and intestinal GATA4 deficiency leads to a jejunoileal transition. Although intestinal GATA4 ablation is known to misregulate jejunal gene expression, its pathophysiological impact on various components of metabolic syndrome remains unknown. Here, we used intestine-specific GATA4 knockout (GATA4iKO) mice to dissect the contribution of GATA4 on obesity development. We challenged adult GATA4iKO mice and control littermates with a Western-type diet (WTD) for 20 wk. Our findings show that WTD-fed GATA4iKO mice are resistant to diet-induced obesity. Accordingly, plasma TG and TC levels are markedly decreased. Intestinal lipid absorption in GATA4iKO mice was strongly reduced, whereas luminal lipolysis was unaffected. GATA4iKO mice displayed a greater glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) release on normal chow and even after long-term challenge with WTD remained glucose sensitive. In summary, our findings show that the absence of intestinal GATA4 has a beneficial effect on decreasing intestinal lipid absorption causing resistance to hyperlipidemia and obesity. In addition, we show that increased GLP-1 release in GATA4iKO mice decreases the risk for development of insulin resistance.
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