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Nutr Res. 2018 Jul 4. pii: S0271-5317(18)30190-8. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2018.06.009. [Epub ahead of print]

The interplay of canonical and noncanonical Wnt signaling in metabolic syndrome.

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Section of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510.
Section of Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06510; Deparetment of Genetics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, 06510. Electronic address:


Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of inherited metabolic traits, which centers around obesity and insulin resistance and is a major contributor to the growing prevalence of cardiovascular disease. The factors that underlie the association of metabolic traits in this syndrome are poorly understood due to disease heterogeneity and complexity. Genetic studies of kindreds with severe manifestation of metabolic syndrome have led to the identification of casual rare mutations in the LDL receptor-related protein 6, which serves as a co-receptor with frizzled protein receptors for Wnt signaling ligands. Extensive investigations have since unraveled the significance of the Wnt pathways in regulating body mass, glucose metabolism, de novo lipogenesis, low-density lipoprotein clearance, vascular smooth muscle plasticity, liver fat, and liver inflammation. The impaired canonical Wnt signaling observed in the R611C mutation carriers and the ensuing activation of noncanonical Wnt signaling constitute the underlying mechanism for these cardiometabolic abnormalities. Transcription factor 7-like 2 is a key transcription factor activated through LDL receptor-related protein 6 canonical Wnt and reciprocally inhibited by the noncanonical pathway. TC7L2 increases insulin receptor expression, decreases low-density lipoprotein and triglyceride synthesis, and inhibits vascular smooth muscle proliferation. Canonical Wnt also inhibits noncanonical protein kinase C, Ras homolog gene family member A, and Rho associated coiled-coil containing protein kinase 2 activation, thus inhibiting steatohepatitis and transforming growth factor β-mediated extracellular matrix deposition and hepatic fibrosis. Therefore, dysregulation of the highly conserved Wnt signaling pathway underlies the pleiotropy of metabolic traits of the metabolic syndrome and the subsequent end-organ complications.


Atherosclerosis; Early-onset coronary artery disease; LRP6; Metabolic syndrome; Wnt

[Available on 2020-01-04]

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