Lipocalin 2 expression and secretion is highly regulated by metabolic stress, cytokines, and nutrients in adipocytes

Yuanyuan Zhang, Rocio Foncea, Jessica A. Deis, Hong Guo, David A. Bernlohr, Xiaoli Chen

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82 Scopus citations


Lipocalin 2 (Lcn2) has been recently characterized as a new adipokine having a role in innate immunity and energy metabolism. Nonetheless, the metabolic regulation of Lcn2 production in adipocytes has not been comprehensively studied. To better understand the Lcn2 biology, we investigated the regulation of Lcn2 expression in adipose tissue in response to metabolic stress in mice as well as the control of Lcn2 expression and secretion by cytokines and nutrients in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Our results showed that the mRNA expression of Lcn2 was upregulated in white and brown adipose tissues as well as liver during fasting and cold stress in mice. Among pro-inflammatory cytokines TNFα, IL-1β, and IL-6, IL-1β showed most profound effect on Lcn2 expression and secretion in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Insulin stimulated Lcn2 expression and secretion in a dose-dependent manner; this insulin effect was significantly abolished in the presence of low concentration of glucose. Moreover, insulin-stimulated Lcn2 expression and secretion was also attenuated when glucose was replaced by 3-O-methyl-d-glucose or by blocking NFκB pathway activation. Additionally, we showed that palmitate and oleate induced Lcn2 expression and secretion more significantly than EPA, while phytanic acid reduced Lcn2 production. Our results demonstrated that Lcn2 production in adipocytes is highly responsive to metabolic stress, cytokines, and nutrient signals, suggesting an important role of Lcn2 in adipocyte metabolism and inflammation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere96997
JournalPloS one
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 12 2014


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