Sex hormone-binding globulin reduction in metabolic disorders may play a role in NAFLD development

Cristina Saez-Lopez, Anna Barbosa-Desongles, Cristina Hernandez, Roger A. Dyer, Sheila M. Innis, Rafael Simó, David M. Selva

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


© 2017 by the Endocrine Society. Low plasma sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) levels are a hallmark in chronic metabolic diseases, including nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which represents a spectrum of disease ranging from hepatocellular steatosis through steatohepatitis to fibrosis and irreversible cirrhosis. The functional link between altered SHBG production and NAFLD development and progression remains unclear. We investigated the effects of overexpressing human SHBG in 2 mouse models of NAFLD: a genetically induced double transgenic mouse and a diet-induced model. Remarkably, SHBG overexpression in both NAFLD models significantly reduced liver fat accumulation by reducing key lipogenic enzymes. These findings were corroborated by modulating SHBG expression and by adding exogenous SHBG in HepG2 cells, suggesting the cell autonomous nature of the mechanism. Mechanistically, exogenous SHBG treatment downregulated key lipogenic enzymes by reducing PPARg messenger RNA and protein levels through activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase-1/2 mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway. Taking together, we found that SHBG modulates hepatic lipogenesis. This is of importance because reduction of SHBG plasma levels in obese and type 2 diabetic subjects could be directly associated with NAFLD development through an increase in hepatic lipogenesis. Our results point to SHBG as a therapeutic target for preventing or arresting NAFLD development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-559
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017


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