, Volume 48, Issue 3, pp 569-577
Date: 08 Feb 2005

Potential involvement of adipocyte insulin resistance in obesity-associated up-regulation of adipocyte lysophospholipase D/autotaxin expression



Autotaxin is a lysophospholipase D that is secreted by adipocytes and whose expression is substantially up-regulated in obese, diabetic db/db mice. The aim of the present study was to depict the physiopathological and cellular mechanisms involved in regulation of adipocyte autotaxin expression.


Autotaxin mRNAs were quantified in adipose tissue from db/db mice (obese and highly diabetic type 2), gold-thioglucose-treated (GTG) mice (highly obese and moderately diabetic type 2), high-fat diet-fed (HFD) mice (obese and moderately diabetic type 2), streptozotocin-treated mice (thin and diabetic type 1), and massively obese humans with glucose intolerance.


When compared to non-obese controls, autotaxin expression in db/db mice was significantly increased, but not in GTG, HFD, or streptozotocin-treated mice. During db/db mice development, up-regulation of autotaxin occurred only 3 weeks after the emergence of hyperinsulinaemia, and simultaneously with the emergence of hyperglycaaemia. Adipocytes from db/db mice exhibited a stronger impairment of insulin-stimulated glucose uptake than non-obese and HFD-induced obese mice. Autotaxin expression was up-regulated by treatment with TNFα (insulin resistance-promoting cytokine), and down-regulated by rosiglitazone treatment (insulin-sensitising compound) in 3T3F442A adipocytes. Finally, adipose tissue autotaxin expression was significantly up-regulated in patients exhibiting both insulin resistance and impaired glucose tolerance.


The present work demonstrates the existence of a db/db-specific up-regulation of adipocyte autotaxin expression, which could be related to the severe type 2 diabetes phenotype and adipocyte insulin resistance, rather than excess adiposity in itself. It also showed that type 2 diabetes in humans is also associated with up-regulation of adipocyte autotaxin expression.