Endothelin-1 (ET-1) is elevated in patients with obesity; however, its contribution to the pathophysiology related to obesity is not fully understood. We hypothesized that high ET-1 levels cause dyslipidemia, inflammation, and insulin resistance within the adipose tissue of obese mice. To test this hypothesis, male C57BL/6J mice were fed either normal diet (NMD) or high-fat diet (HFD) for 8 weeks followed by 2 weeks of treatment with either vehicle, atrasentan (ETA receptor antagonist, 10 mg/kg/day) or bosentan (ETA/ETB receptor antagonist, 100 mg/kg/day). Atrasentan and bosentan lowered circulating non-esterified free fatty acids and triglycerides seen in HFD mice, while atrasentan-treated mice had significantly lower liver triglycerides compared with non-treated HFD mice. ET-1 receptor blockade significantly improved insulin tolerance compared with insulin-resistant HFD mice and lowered expression of genes in epididymal white adipose tissue (eWAT) associated with insulin resistance and inflammation. Flow cytometric analyses of eWAT indicated that HFD mice had significantly higher percentages of both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells compared with NMD mice, which was attenuated by treatment with atrasentan or bosentan. Atrasentan treatment also abolished the decrease in eosinophils seen in HFD mice. Taken together, these data indicate that ETA and ETA/ETB receptor blockade improves peripheral glucose homeostasis, dyslipidemia and liver triglycerides, and also attenuates the pro-inflammatory immune profile in eWAT of mice fed HFD. These data suggest a potential use for ETA and ETA/ETB receptor blockers in the treatment of obesity-associated dyslipidemia and insulin resistance.

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