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Int J Obes (Lond). 2014 Sep;38(9):1251-4. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2013.232. Epub 2013 Dec 13.

Adipocyte fatty acid-binding protein is released from adipocytes by a non-conventional mechanism.

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1] Department of Endocrinology and Nephrology, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany [2] IFB Adiposity Diseases, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.
Department of Endocrinology and Nephrology, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany.


Adipocyte fatty acid-binding protein (AFABP) is an adipokine, which induces insulin resistance. However, AFABP does not possess any secretion-directed signals and the mechanisms for AFABP release have not been thoroughly assessed so far. In the current study, mechanisms for AFABP secretion were elucidated in 3T3-L1 adipocytes in vitro in the presence or absence of hormonal stimulation, calcium ionophore and secretion inhibitors by cell fractionation experiments, immunoblotting and ELISAs. We demonstrate that AFABP secretion is upregulated during adipocyte differentiation. AFABP secretion is not influenced by treatment with protein secretion inhibitors that block vesicular traffic at the endoplasmic reticulum and the Golgi apparatus. AFABP is secreted partially by adipocyte-derived microvesicles (ADMs), an established mechanism for unconventional secretion from adipocytes. Both total and ADM-secreted AFABP are downregulated by insulin and upregulated by the calcium ionophore ionomycin. Furthermore, murine RAW 264.7 macrophages secrete AFABP and AFABP release from these cells is upregulated by lipopolysaccharide treatment. Taken together, these results suggest that AFABP is actively released by unconventional mechanisms and by ADMs from 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Furthermore, AFABP secretion from fat cells is regulated by insulin and intracellular calcium.

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