Adipogenic capacity and the susceptibility to type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome

May-Yun Wang, Paul Grayburn, Shuyuan Chen, Mariella Ravazzola, Lelio Orci, Roger H Unger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

113 Scopus citations


To determine whether adipocyte storage capacity influences the onset and severity of type 2 diabetes and other components of the metabolic syndrome, we made normal and db/db mice resistant to obesity by overexpressing leptin receptor-b on the aP2-Lepr-b promoter. On a 4% diet, these mice have no phenotype, but on a 60% fat diet, they resist diet-induced obesity because constitutive adipocyte-specific overexpression of Lepr-b prevents obesity via the antilipogenic autocrine/paracrine action of leptin on adipocytes. After 8 months on the same 60% fat diet, body fat of transgenic mice was 70% below WT controls. Cardiac and liver fat was elevated in the transgenics, and their hyperinsulinemia was more marked, suggesting greater insulin resistance. The aP2-Lepr-b transgene also prevented obesity in db/db mice; at 10 weeks of age their body fat was half that of the db/db mice. This lack of obesity was attributable to reduced expression of sterol regulatory element binding protein-1c and its target lipogenic enzymes in adipose tissue and a 6-fold increase in Pref-1 mRNA. Severe diabetes was present in transgenics at 4 weeks of age, 10 weeks before db/db controls. Echocardiographic evidence of cardiomyopathy appeared at 10 weeks, weeks before the db/db mice. Histologically, loss of β cells and myocardial fibrosis was present in the transgenic group at least 6 weeks before the db/db mice. These results suggest that the expression level of genes that regulate the adipogenic response to overnutrition profoundly influences the age of onset and severity of diet-induced type 2 diabetes and co-morbidities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6139-6144
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number16
StatePublished - Apr 22 2008


  • Adipogenesis
  • Apoptosis
  • Leptin
  • Lipotoxicity
  • Pref-1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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