Plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (PAI-1) is a functional biomarker of the metabolic syndrome. Previous studies have demonstrated that PAI-1 is a mechanistic contributor to several elements of the syndrome, including obesity, hypertension and insulin resistance. Here we show that PAI-1 is also a critical regulator of hepatic lipid metabolism. RNA sequencing revealed that PAI-1 directly regulates the transcriptional expression of numerous genes involved in mammalian lipid homeostasis, including PCSK9 and FGF21. Pharmacologic or genetic reductions in plasma PAI-1 activity ameliorates hyperlipidemia in vivo. These experimental findings are complemented with the observation that genetic deficiency of PAI-1 is associated with reduced plasma PCSK9 levels in humans. Taken together, our findings identify PAI-1 as a novel contributor to mammalian lipid metabolism and provides a fundamental mechanistic insight into the pathogenesis of one of the most pervasive medical problems worldwide.
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