Physical exercise alleviates ER stress in obese humans through reduction in the expression and release of GRP78 chaperone

Abdelkrim Khadir, Sina Kavalakatt, Jehad Abubaker, Preethi Cherian, Dhanya Madhu, Irina Al khairi, Mohamed Abu-Farha, Samia Warsame, Naser Elkum, Mohammed Dehbi, Ali Tiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Background and objectives Perturbation of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) homeostasis has emerged as one of the prominent features of obesity and diabetes. This occurs when the adaptive unfolded protein response (UPR) fails to restore ER function in key metabolic tissues. We previously reported increased inflammation and impaired heat shock response (HSR) in obese human subjects that were restored by physical exercise. Here, we investigated the status of ER stress chaperone; glucose-regulated protein 78 (GRP78) and its downstream UPR pathways in human obese, and their modulation by a supervised 3-month physical exercise. Methods Subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) and blood samples were collected from non-diabetic adult human lean (n = 40) and obese (n = 40, at baseline and after 3 months of physical exercise). Transcriptomic profiling was used as a primary screen to identify differentially expressed genes and it was carried out on SAT samples using the UPR RT 2 Profiler PCR Array. Conventional RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry, immunofluorescence, Western blot and ELISA were used to validate the transcriptomic data. Correlation analyses with the physical, clinical and biochemical outcomes were performed using Pearson's rank correlation coefficient. Results Levels of GRP78 and its three downstream UPR arms; activating transcription factor-6 (ATF6), inositol-requiring enzyme-1α (IRE1α) and protein kinase RNA-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK) were increased in obese subjects. More interestingly, higher levels of circulating GRP78 protein were found in obese compared to lean subjects which correlated negatively with maximum oxygen uptake (V O2 Max ) but positively with high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) and obesity indicators such as BMI, percentage body fat (PBF) and waist circumference. GRP78 increased secretion in obese was further confirmed in vitro using 3T3-L1 preadipocyte cells under ER stress. Finally, we showed that physical exercise significantly attenuated the expression and release of GRP78 with a concomitant reduction in the phosphorylation of IRE1α and eukaryotic initiation factor-2α (eIF2α). Conclusion Our results suggest that physical exercise alleviates ER stress in human obese through attenuation of GRP78 signaling network.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1409-1420
Number of pages12
JournalMetabolism: Clinical and Experimental
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016


  • Adipose tissue
  • ER stress
  • GRP78
  • Obesity
  • Physical exercise


Dive into the research topics of 'Physical exercise alleviates ER stress in obese humans through reduction in the expression and release of GRP78 chaperone'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this