Metabolic function of the CTRP family of hormones

  • Marcus M. Seldin
  • Stefanie Y. Tan
  • G. William Wong


Maintaining proper energy balance in mammals entails intimate crosstalk between various tissues and organs. These inter-organ communications are mediated, to a great extent, by secreted hormones that circulate in blood. Regulation of the complex metabolic networks by secreted hormones (e.g., insulin, glucagon, leptin, adiponectin, FGF21) constitutes an important mechanism governing the integrated control of whole-body metabolism. Disruption of hormone-mediated metabolic circuits frequently results in dysregulated energy metabolism and pathology. As part of an effort to identify novel metabolic hormones, we recently characterized a highly conserved family of 15 secreted proteins, the C1q/TNF-related proteins (CTRP1-15). While related to adiponectin in sequence and structural organization, each CTRP has its own unique tissue expression profile and non-redundant function in regulating sugar and/or fat metabolism. Here, we summarize the current understanding of the physiological functions of CTRPs, emphasizing their metabolic roles. Future studies using gain-of-function and loss-of-function mouse models will provide greater mechanistic insights into the critical role CTRPs play in regulating systemic energy homeostasis.


Adipokine Obesity Type 2 diabetes Insulin resistance Gluconeognesis Fat oxidation 



Acetyl Co-A carboxylase


Agouti-related protein


AMP-activated protein kinase


C1q/TNF-related protein


CCAAT/enhancer binding protein alpha


Diet-induced obese


Extracellular signal-regulated protein kinases 1 and 2


Endothelial nitric oxide synthase


Fluorescent activated cell sorter


Glucose transporter 4




G-protein coupled receptor




c-Jun N-terminal kinase




Liver kinase B1


Late-onset retinal macular degeneration


Mitogen activated protein kinase


Neuropeptide Y


Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma


Proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin


Phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase


Stress-activated protein kinase



G.W.W. is supported by grants from the National Institute of Health (DK084171) and the American Heart Association (SDG2260721).

Conflict of interest

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marcus M. Seldin
    • 1
  • Stefanie Y. Tan
    • 1
  • G. William Wong
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physiology and Center for Metabolism and Obesity ResearchThe Johns Hopkins University School of MedicineBaltimoreUSA

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