Urocortin 3 overexpression reduces ER stress and heat shock response in 3T3-L1 adipocytes

Sina Kavalakatt, Abdelkrim Khadir, Dhanya Madhu, Heikki A Koistinen, Fahd Al-Mulla, Jaakko Tuomilehto, Jehad Abubaker, Ali Tiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The neuropeptide urocortin 3 (UCN3) has a beneficial effect on metabolic disorders, such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. It has been reported that UCN3 regulates insulin secretion and is dysregulated with increasing severity of obesity and diabetes. However, its function in the adipose tissue is unclear. We investigated the overexpression of UCN3 in 3T3-L1 preadipocytes and differentiated adipocytes and its effects on heat shock response, ER stress, inflammatory markers, and glucose uptake in the presence of stress-inducing concentrations of palmitic acid (PA). UCN3 overexpression significantly downregulated heat shock proteins (HSP60, HSP72 and HSP90) and ER stress response markers (GRP78, PERK, ATF6, and IRE1α) and attenuated inflammation (TNFα) and apoptosis (CHOP). Moreover, enhanced glucose uptake was observed in both preadipocytes and mature adipocytes, which is associated with upregulated phosphorylation of AKT and ERK but reduced p-JNK. Moderate effects of UCN3 overexpression were also observed in the presence of 400 μM of PA, and macrophage conditioned medium dramatically decreased the UCN3 mRNA levels in differentiated 3T3-L1 cells. In conclusion, the beneficial effects of UCN3 in adipocytes are reflected, at least partially, by the improvement in cellular stress response and glucose uptake and attenuation of inflammation and apoptosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15666
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Aug 2021


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