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Cell Metab. 2012 Jan 4;15(1):38-50. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2011.12.002.

PGRN is a key adipokine mediating high fat diet-induced insulin resistance and obesity through IL-6 in adipose tissue.

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Division of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, 7-5-1 Kusunoki-cho, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0017, Japan.


Adipose tissue secretes adipokines that mediate insulin resistance, a characteristic feature of obesity and type 2 diabetes. By differential proteome analysis of cellular models of insulin resistance, we identified progranulin (PGRN) as an adipokine induced by TNF-α and dexamethasone. PGRN in blood and adipose tissues was markedly increased in obese mouse models and was normalized with treatment of pioglitazone, an insulin-sensitizing agent. Ablation of PGRN (Grn(-/-)) prevented mice from high fat diet (HFD)-induced insulin resistance, adipocyte hypertrophy, and obesity. Grn deficiency blocked elevation of IL-6, an inflammatory cytokine, induced by HFD in blood and adipose tissues. Insulin resistance induced by chronic administration of PGRN was suppressed by neutralizing IL-6 in vivo. Thus, PGRN is a key adipokine that mediates HFD-induced insulin resistance and obesity through production of IL-6 in adipose tissue, and may be a promising therapeutic target for obesity.

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