ICH3, a selective alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor agonist, modulates adipocyte inflammation associated with obesity

G. Scabia, R. Cancello, C. Dallanoce, S. Berger, C. Matera, A. Dattilo, A. Zulian, I. Barone, G. Ceccarini, F. Santini, M. De Amici, A. M. Di Blasio, M. Maffei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The alpha7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (α7nAChR), involved in the modulation of inflammation and insulin sensitivity, is downregulated in white adipose tissue (WAT) of obese patients. This study aims to test the ability of a selective synthetic α7nAChR agonist, the spirocyclic Δ2-isoxazoline derivative (R)-(−)-ICH3 (ICH3), to counteract acute inflammation and obesity-associated modifications in WAT. Methods: We employed the LPS-septic shock murine model, human primary adipocytes and diet-induced obese (DIO) mice. Inflammatory factor expression was assessed by ELISA and quantitative real-time PCR. Flow cytometry was employed to define WAT inflammatory infiltrate. Insulin signaling was monitored by quantification of AKT phosphorylation. Results: In the septic shock model, ICH3 revealed antipyretic action and reduced the surge of circulating cytokines. In vitro, ICH3 stimulation (10 µM) preserved viability of human adipocytes, decreased IL-6 mRNA (P < 0.05) and blunted LPS-induced peak of TNFα (P < 0.05) and IL-6 (P < 0.01). Chronic administration of ICH3 to DIO mice was associated with lower numbers of CD8+ T cells (P < 0.05) and to changed WAT expression of inflammatory factors (Hp, P < 0.05; CD301/MGL1, P < 0.01; Arg-1, P < 0.05). As compared to untreated, ICH3 DIO mice exhibited improved insulin signaling in the skeletal muscle (P < 0.01) mirrored by an improved response to glucose load (ipGTT: P < 0.05 at 120 min). Conclusions: We proved that ICH3 is an anti-inflammatory drug, able to reduce inflammatory cytokines in human adipocytes and to blunt the effects of obesity on WAT inflammatory profile, on glucose tolerance and on tissue insulin sensitivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)983-993
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Endocrinological Investigation
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2020


  • Adipose tissue
  • Alpha 7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor
  • Inflammation
  • Obesity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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