Evidence for an important role of perilipin in the regulation of human adipocyte lipolysis

Diabetologia. 2003 Jun;46(6):789-97. doi: 10.1007/s00125-003-1112-x. Epub 2003 Jun 11.


Aims/hypothesis: We investigated the role of the adipocyte-specific protein perilipin for lipolysis in humans.

Methods: Perilipin protein content and lipolysis rates were measured in human subcutaneous fat cells of non-obese (n=10) and obese (n=117) women. Single nucleotide polymorphisms in the perilipin gene were examined in obese subjects.

Results: Basal and noradrenaline-induced rates of lipolysis were two to fourfold increased (p<0.01) and perilipin protein content decreased 50% (p=0.005) in adipocytes of the obese women. In subjects matched for body mass index and fat-cell volume, a high rate of lipolysis was associated with a low adipocyte content of perilipin (p=0.01). Adipocyte content of perilipin was inversely correlated with the circulating concentrations of glycerol (r=0.62) and non-esterified fatty acids (n=0.49). A gene polymorphism (rs891460 A/G) in intron 6 was common. In AA subjects basal and noradrenaline induced lipolysis were 50 to 100% times more rapid (p</=0.01) and the adipocyte perilipin content was about 80% reduced (p=0.005) as compared to GG carriers. Intermediate values were found in AG carriers.

Conclusions/interpretation: Perilipin seems important for the regulation of lipolysis in human fat cells. Obesity and a polymorphism in the perilipin gene associate with decreased protein content of perilipin and increased basal (unstrained) and noradrenaline-induced lipolysis. Low perilipin content also associate with high in vivo lipolytic activity. Perilipin could be a factor behind impaired lipolysis in insulin-resistant conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / cytology
  • Adipocytes / metabolism*
  • Adipocytes / pathology
  • Adult
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Mass Index
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cell Size
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • DNA Primers
  • Genotype
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Lipolysis / physiology*
  • Obesity / genetics*
  • Perilipin-1
  • Phosphoproteins / genetics*
  • Phosphoproteins / metabolism*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide*
  • Reference Values
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Blood Glucose
  • Carrier Proteins
  • DNA Primers
  • Insulin
  • Perilipin-1
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol