Diabetic dyslipidemia, characterized by increased plasma triglycerides and decreased HDL cholesterol levels, is a major factor contributing to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis and cardiovascular risk in type 2 diabetes. Activation of the cannabinoid-1 receptor (CB1R) and activation of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) are associated with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis progression. Here, we tested whether dual-targeting inhibition of hepatic CB1R and iNOS improves diabetic dyslipidemia in mice with diet-induced obesity (DIO mice). DIO mice were treated for 14 days with (S)-MRI-1867, a peripherally restricted hybrid inhibitor of CB1R and iNOS. (R)-MRI-1867, the CB1R-inactive stereoisomer that retains iNOS inhibitory activity, and JD-5037, a peripherally restricted CB1R antagonist, were used to assess the relative contribution of the two targets to the effects of (S)-MRI-1867. (S)-MRI-1867 reduced hepatic steatosis and the rate of hepatic VLDL secretion, upregulated hepatic LDLR expression, and reduced the circulating levels of proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9). The decrease in VLDL secretion could be attributed to CB1R blockade, while the reduction of PCSK9 levels and the related increase in LDLR resulted from iNOS inhibition via an mTOR complex 1–dependent mechanism. In conclusion, this approach based on the concomitant inhibition of CB1R and iNOS represents a promising therapeutic strategy for the treatment of dyslipidemia.
- Received January 21, 2020.
- Accepted July 5, 2020.
- © 2020 by the American Diabetes Association