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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2009 Apr;296(4):E802-11. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.90725.2008. Epub 2009 Jan 27.

Human apolipoprotein D overexpression in transgenic mice induces insulin resistance and alters lipid metabolism.

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  • 1Département des Sciences Biologiques, Université du Québec à Montréal, Case postale 8888, succursale Centre-ville, Montréal, Québec, H3C 3P8 Canada.


Apolipoprotein D (apoD), a widely expressed lipocalin, has the capacity to transport small hydrophobic molecules. Although it has been proposed that apoD may have multiple tissue-specific, physiological ligands and functions, these have yet to be identified. To gain insight in some of its functions, we generated transgenic mice overexpressing human apoD (H-apoD) under the control of neuron-specific promoters. In Thy-1/apoD and NSE/apoD mice, expression of H-apoD was strong in the nervous system although weakly detected in peripheral organs such as the liver and blood cells. These mice displayed not entirely anticipated metabolic defects. Although they are not obese and have normal lipid concentration in circulation, Thy-1/apoD and NSE/apoD mice are glucose intolerant, insulin resistant, and develop hepatic steatosis. The steatosis and its associated insulin resistance are correlated with impairments in hepatic lipogenesis. However, they are not strongly related with inflammation. This impaired insulin response is not caused by a decrease in circulating leptin or a modulation of adiponectin and resistin levels. These results suggest that variations in the levels and/or sites of apoD expression influence the lipid and glucose metabolism, consolidating apoD as a target for insulin-resistance-related disorders.

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