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Activation of GPR81 by lactate drives tumour-induced cachexia

Liu, X;Li, S;Cui, Q;Guo, B;Ding, W;Liu, J;Quan, L;Li, X;Xie, P;Jin, L;Sheng, Y;Chen, W;Wang, K;Zeng, F;Qiu, Y;Liu, C;Zhang, Y;Lv, F;Hu, X;Xiao, RP;

Cachexia affects 50-80% of patients with cancer and accounts for 20% of cancer-related death, but the underlying mechanism driving cachexia remains elusive. Here we show that circulating lactate levels positively correlate with the degree of body weight loss in male and female patients suffering from cancer cachexia, as well as in clinically relevant mouse models. Lactate infusion per se is sufficient to trigger a cachectic phenotype in tumour-free mice in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, we demonstrate that adipose-specific G-protein-coupled receptor (GPR)81 ablation, similarly to global GPR81 deficiency, ameliorates lactate-induced or tumour-induced adipose and muscle wasting in male mice, revealing adipose GPR81 as the major mediator of the catabolic effects of lactate. Mechanistically, lactate/GPR81-induced cachexia occurs independently of the well-established protein kinase A catabolic pathway, but it is mediated by a signalling cascade sequentially activating Gi-G??-RhoA/ROCK1-p38. These findings highlight the therapeutic potential of targeting GPR81 for the treatment of this life-threatening complication of cancer.