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Obes Res. 2003 Aug;11(8):930-6.

Perilipin expression in human adipose tissues: effects of severe obesity, gender, and depot.

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  • 1Department of Nutritional Science, Cook College, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA.



Perilipins are phosphoproteins that are localized to the surface of triacylglycerol droplets within adipocytes where they regulate the rate of lipolysis. We sought to determine the effects of severe obesity and depot [omental (Om) vs. subcutaneous (Sc)] on perilipin expression in the adipose tissue of individuals.


Samples of Om and Sc adipose tissues obtained at surgery from severely obese subjects and fat aspirations from nonobese subjects were analyzed for perilipin protein and mRNA levels by Northern and Western analysis.


Perilipin A (periA) was the major perilipin expressed in adipose tissues. periA mRNA relative abundance was significantly lower in Sc adipose tissue from severely obese compared to that from nonobese subjects. Western blotting of adipose tissue extracts showed that periA protein levels expressed relative to tissue protein or fat cell surface area were significantly lower ( approximately -40%) in abdominal Sc adipose tissue from severely obese compared to that from nonobese subjects. However, the calculated mass of perilipin per fat cell did not differ between the two groups. Perilipin mRNA levels were higher in Sc compared to Om adipose tissue from obese individuals (p < 0.025; n = 26; 17 women, 9 men); however, periA protein levels did not differ. In addition, perilipin protein, but not mRNA, levels were higher in Sc adipose tissue from obese men than from women (p < 0.025).


Variations in perilipin expression may contribute to the higher basal lipolytic rates observed in obese compared to nonobese individuals and in obese women compared to obese men.

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