Purpose of review: Stearoyl-Coenzyme A (CoA) desaturase is a central lipogenic enzyme catalyzing the synthesis of monounsaturated fatty acids - mainly oleate (C(18:1)). Oleate is the most abundant monounsaturated fatty acid in dietary fat and is therefore readily available. Why, then, is stearoyl-CoA desaturase a highly regulated enzyme? This review summarizes the recent and timely advances concerning the important role of stearoyl-CoA desaturase in metabolism.
Recent findings: Recent findings using mice that have a naturally occurring mutation in the SCD1 gene isoform as well as a mouse model with a targeted disruption of the stearoyl-CoA desaturase gene-1 (SCD1-/-) have revealed the role of de-novo synthesized oleate and thus the physiological importance of SCD1 expression. In the highlighted references, it is shown that the SCD1-/- mice have reduced body adiposity, increased insulin sensitivity, and are resistant to diet-induced obesity. The expression of several genes of lipid oxidation is upregulated, whereas lipid synthesis genes are downregulated. SCD1 was also found to be a component of the novel metabolic response to the hormone leptin.
Summary: SCD1, therefore, appears to be an important metabolic control point, and inhibition of its expression could be of benefit for the treatment of obesity, diabetes and other metabolic diseases.