Abnormalities of methyl-CpG binding protein 2 (Mecp2) cause neurological disorders with metabolic dysfunction; however, its role in adipose tissues remains unclear. Here, we report upregulated Mecp2 in white adipose tissues (WAT) of obese humans, as well as in obese mice and during in vitro adipogenesis. Normal chow–fed adipocyte-specific Mecp2 knockout mice (Mecp2Adi KO mice) showed a lean phenotype, with downregulated lipogenic genes and upregulated thermogenic genes that were identified using RNA sequencing. Consistently, the deficiency of Mecp2 in adipocytes protected mice from high-fat diet (HFD)–induced obesity and inhibited in vitro adipogenesis. Furthermore, Mecp2Adi KO mice showed increased browning under different stimuli, including cold treatment. Mechanistically, Mecp2 bound to the promoter of secretory leukocyte protease inhibitor (Slpi) and negatively regulated its expression. Knockdown of Slpi in inguinal WAT of Mecp2Adi KO mice prevented cold-induced browning. Moreover, recombinant SLPI treatment reduced the HFD-induced obesity via enhancing browning. Together, our results suggest a novel non–central nervous system function of Mecp2 in obesity by suppressing browning, at least partially, through regulating adipokine Slpi.
- Received May 20, 2019.
- Accepted October 6, 2019.
- © 2019 by the American Diabetes Association.