Pioglitazone does not synergize with mirabegron to increase beige fat or further improve glucose metabolism

Brian S. Finlin, Hasiyet Memetimin, Beibei Zhu, Amy L. Confides, Hemendra J. Vekaria, Riham H. El Khouli, Zachary R. Johnson, Philip M. Westgate, Jianzhong Chen, Andrew J. Morris, Patrick G. Sullivan, Esther E. Dupont-Versteegden, Philip A. Kern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND. Beige and brown adipose tissue (BAT) are associated with improved metabolic homeostasis. We recently reported that the β3-adrenergic receptor agonist mirabegron induced beige adipose tissue in obese insulin-resistant subjects, and this was accompanied by improved glucose metabolism. Here we evaluated pioglitazone treatment with a combination pioglitazone and mirabegron treatment and compared these with previously published data evaluating mirabegron treatment alone. Both drugs were used at FDA-approved dosages. METHODS. We measured BAT by PET CT scans, measured beige adipose tissue by immunohistochemistry, and comprehensively characterized glucose and lipid homeostasis and insulin sensitivity by euglycemic clamp and oral glucose tolerance tests. Subcutaneous white adipose tissue, muscle fiber type composition and capillary density, lipotoxicity, and systemic inflammation were evaluated by immunohistochemistry, gene expression profiling, mass spectroscopy, and ELISAs. RESULTS. Treatment with pioglitazone or the combination of pioglitazone and mirabegron increased beige adipose tissue protein marker expression and improved insulin sensitivity and glucose homeostasis, but neither treatment induced BAT in these obese subjects. When the magnitude of the responses to the treatments was evaluated, mirabegron was found to be the most effective at inducing beige adipose tissue. Although monotherapy with either mirabegron or pioglitazone induced adipose beiging, combination treatment resulted in less beiging than either alone. The 3 treatments also had different effects on muscle fiber type switching and capillary density. CONCLUSION. The addition of pioglitazone to mirabegron treatment does not enhance beiging or increase BAT in obese insulin-resistant research participants.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere143650
JournalJCI insight
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 22 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, Finlin et al. This is an open access article published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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