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Diabetes Care. 2013 Dec;36(12):4083-90. doi: 10.2337/dc13-0496. Epub 2013 Oct 15.

Adipose dipeptidyl peptidase-4 and obesity: correlation with insulin resistance and depot-specific release from adipose tissue in vivo and in vitro.

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  • 1Corresponding author: Henrike Sell,



To study expression of the recently identified adipokine dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP4) in subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) and visceral adipose tissue (VAT) of patients with various BMIs and insulin sensitivities, as well as to assess circulating DPP4 in relation to obesity and insulin sensitivity.


DPP4 expression was measured in SAT and VAT from 196 subjects with a wide range of BMIs and insulin sensitivities. DPP4 release was measured ex vivo in paired biopsies from SAT and VAT as well as in vivo from SAT of lean and obese patients. Circulating DPP4 was measured in insulin-sensitive and insulin-resistant BMI-matched obese patients.


DPP4 expression was positively correlated with BMI in both SAT and VAT, with VAT consistently displaying higher expression than SAT. Ex vivo release of DPP4 from adipose tissue explants was higher in VAT than in SAT in both lean and obese patients, with obese patients displaying higher DPP4 release than lean controls. Net release of DPP4 from adipose tissue was also demonstrated in vivo with greater release in obese subjects than in lean subjects and in women than in men. Insulin-sensitive obese patients had significantly lower circulating DPP4 than did obesity-matched insulin-resistant patients. In this experiment, DPP4 positively correlated with the amount of VAT, adipocyte size, and adipose tissue inflammation.


DPP4, a novel adipokine, has a higher release from VAT that is particularly pronounced in obese and insulin-resistant patients. Our data suggest that DPP4 may be a marker for visceral obesity, insulin resistance, and the metabolic syndrome.

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