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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2004 Sep 3;321(4):1024-31.

GDF-3 is an adipogenic cytokine under high fat dietary condition.

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Human Genome Sciences, Inc., 9410 Key West Avenue, Rockville, MD 20850, USA.


Growth differentiation factor 3 (GDF-3) is structurally a bone morphogenetic protein/growth differentiation factor subfamily member of the TGF-beta superfamily. GDF-3 exhibits highest level of expression in white fat tissue in mice and is greatly induced by high fat diet if fat metabolic pathway is blocked. To identify its biological function, GDF-3 was overexpressed in mice by adenovirus mediated gene transfer. Mice transduced with GDF-3 displayed profound weight gain when fed with high fat diet. The phenotypes included greatly expanded adipose tissue mass, increased body adiposity, highly hypertrophic adipocytes, hepatic steatosis, and elevated plasma leptin. GDF-3 stimulated peroxisome proliferator activated receptor expression in adipocytes, a master nuclear receptor that controls adipogenesis. However, GDF-3 was not involved in blood glucose homeostasis or insulin resistance, a condition associated with obesity. In contrast, similar phenotypes were not observed in GDF-3 mice fed with normal chow, indicating that GDF-3 is only active under high lipid load. Thus, GDF-3 is a new non-diabetic adipogenic factor tightly coupled with fat metabolism.

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