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Lipotoxic Effects of Palmitic Acid on Astrocytes Are Associated with Autophagy Impairment

AuthorsOrtiz-Rodriguez, Ana; Acaz-Fonseca, E.; Boya, Patricia ; Arévalo, María Ángeles ; Garcia-Segura, Luis-Miguel
KeywordsAutophagic flux
Estrogen receptors
Proinflammatory cytokines
Sex differences
Issue Date2019
CitationMolecular neurobiology 56: 1665- 1680 (2019)
AbstractObesity is associated with an increase in the brain levels of saturated free fatty acids, such as palmitic acid (PA). Previous studies have shown that PA exerts proinflammatory actions and reduces cell viability in astrocyte cultures. In this study, we have assessed whether an alteration in autophagy is involved in the effects of PA on astrocytes. Primary astrocytes were obtained from the cerebral cortex of male and female CD1 mouse pups and were incubated for 4.5 or 24 h with 250–500 μM PA. PA increased the levels of LC3-II, an autophagosome marker, and reduced LC3-II flux in astrocytes, suggesting a blockade of autophagy. This effect was observed both after 4.5 and 24 h of treatment with PA. PA had additional effects after treatment for 24 h, increasing the expression of proinflammatory cytokines, decreasing cell viability, and increasing the levels of an endoplasmic reticulum stress marker. In addition, PA decreased the expression of estrogen receptors, but only in female astrocytes. However, the treatment with estradiol, estrogen receptor agonists, or inhibitor of estradiol synthesis did not counteract the action of PA on cell viability. Rapamycin, an autophagy inducer, was unable to prevent the effect of PA on cell viability. In addition, hydroxychloroquine, an autophagy blocker, did not cause per se astrocyte death. These findings suggest that the effect of PA on autophagy is not sufficient to induce astrocyte loss, which is only observed when prolonged PA treatment causes other alterations in astrocytes, such as increased inflammation and endoplasmic reticulum stress.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12035-018-1183-9
Identifiersdoi: 10.1007/s12035-018-1183-9
issn: 1559-1182
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