Synthetic adiponectin-receptor agonist, AdipoRon, induces glycolytic dependence in pancreatic cancer cells

Sharon J. Manley, Appolinaire A. Olou, Jarrid L. Jack, Mariana T. Ruckert, R. Mc Kinnon Walsh, Austin E. Eades, Bailey A. Bye, Joe Ambrose, Fanuel Messaggio, Shrikant Anant, Michael N. VanSaun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Obesity creates a localized inflammatory reaction in the adipose, altering secretion of adipocyte-derived factors that contribute to pathologies including cancer. We have previously shown that adiponectin inhibits pancreatic cancer by antagonizing leptin-induced STAT3 activation. Yet, the effects of adiponectin on pancreatic cancer cell metabolism have not been addressed. In these studies, we have uncovered a novel metabolic function for the synthetic adiponectin-receptor agonist, AdipoRon. Treatment of PDAC cells with AdipoRon led to mitochondrial uncoupling and loss of ATP production. Concomitantly, AdipoRon-treated cells increased glucose uptake and utilization. This metabolic switch further correlated with AMPK mediated inhibition of the prolipogenic factor acetyl coenzyme A carboxylase 1 (ACC1), which is known to initiate fatty acid catabolism. Yet, measurements of fatty acid oxidation failed to detect any alteration in response to AdipoRon treatment, suggesting a deficiency for compensation. Additional disruption of glycolytic dependence, using either a glycolysis inhibitor or low-glucose conditions, demonstrated an impairment of growth and survival of all pancreatic cancer cell lines tested. Collectively, these studies provide evidence that pancreatic cancer cells utilize metabolic plasticity to upregulate glycolysis in order to adapt to suppression of oxidative phosphorylation in the presence of AdipoRon.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number114
JournalCell Death and Disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cell Biology
  • Cancer Research


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