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J Am Heart Assoc. 2014 Apr 10;3(2):e000837. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.114.000837.

Deamidated lipocalin-2 induces endothelial dysfunction and hypertension in dietary obese mice.

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State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China.



Lipocalin-2 is a proinflammatory adipokine upregulated in obese humans and animals. A pathogenic role of lipocalin-2 in hypertension has been suggested. Mice lacking lipocalin-2 are protected from dietary obesity-induced cardiovascular dysfunctions. Administration of lipocalin-2 causes abnormal vasodilator responses in mice on a high-fat diet (HFD).


Wild-type and lipocalin-2 knockout mice were fed with standard chow or HFD. Immunoassays were performed for evaluating the circulating and tissue contents of lipocalin-2. The relaxation and contraction of arteries were studied using a wire myograph. Blood pressure was monitored with implantable radio telemetry. Dietary obesity promoted the accumulation of lipocalin-2 protein in blood and arteries. Deficiency of this adipokine protected mice from dietary obesity-induced elevation of blood pressure. Mass spectrometry analysis revealed that human and murine lipocalin-2 were modified by polyamination. Polyaminated lipocalin-2 was rapidly cleared from the circulation. Adipose tissue was a major site for lipocalin-2 deamidation. The circulating levels and the arterial accumulation of deamidated lipocalin-2 were significantly enhanced by treatment with linoleic acid (18:2n-6), which bound to lipocalin-2 with high affinity and prevented its interactions with matrix metalloproteinase 9 (MMP9). Combined administration of linoleic acid with lipocalin-2 caused vascular inflammation and endothelial dysfunction and raised the blood pressure of mice receiving standard chow. A human lipocalin-2 mutant with cysteine 87 replaced by alanine (C87A) contained less polyamines and exhibited a reduced capacity to form heterodimeric complexes with MMP9. After treatment, C87A remained in the circulation for a prolonged period of time and evoked endothelial dysfunction in the absence of linoleic acid.


Polyamination facilitates the clearance of lipocalin-2, whereas the accumulation of deamidated lipocalin-2 in arteries causes vascular inflammation, endothelial dysfunction, and hypertension.


adipokine; endothelial dysfunction; inflammation; lipotoxicity; obesity

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