Regulation of metabolic responses by adipocyte/macrophage Fatty Acid-binding proteins in leptin-deficient mice

Diabetes. 2006 Jul;55(7):1915-22. doi: 10.2337/db05-1496.


Fatty acid-binding proteins (FABPs) are cytosolic fatty acid chaperones that play a critical role in systemic regulation of lipid and glucose metabolism. In animals lacking the adipocyte/macrophage FABP isoforms aP2 and mal1, there is strong protection against diet-induced obesity, insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, and hypercholesterolemic atherosclerosis. On high-fat diet, FABP-deficient mice also exhibit enhanced muscle AMP-activated kinase (AMPK) and reduced liver stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1 (SCD-1) activities. Here, we performed a cross between aP2(-/-), mal1(-/-), and leptin-deficient (ob/ob) mice to elucidate the role of leptin action on the metabolic phenotype of aP2-mal1 deficiency. The extent of obesity in the ob/ob-aP2-mal1(-/-) mice was comparable with ob/ob mice. However, despite severe obesity, ob/ob-aP2-mal1(-/-) mice remained euglycemic and demonstrated improved peripheral insulin sensitivity. There was also a striking protection from liver fatty infiltration in the ob/ob-aP2-mal1(-/-) mice with strong suppression of SCD-1 activity. On the other hand, the enhanced muscle AMPK activity in aP2-mal1(-/-) mice was lost in the ob/ob background. These results indicated that both decreased body weight and enhanced muscle AMPK activity in aP2-mal1(-/-) mice are potentially leptin dependent but improved systemic insulin sensitivity and protection from liver fatty infiltration are largely unrelated to leptin action and that insulin-sensitizing effects of FABP deficiency are, at least in part, independent of its effects on total-body adiposity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenylate Kinase / metabolism
  • Adipocytes / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Fatty Acid-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Leptin / deficiency*
  • Leptin / genetics*
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Obesity / genetics*


  • Fatty Acid-Binding Proteins
  • Leptin
  • Adenylate Kinase