Zinc-α2-glycoprotein: an adipokine modulator of body fat mass?

Int J Obes (Lond). 2010 Nov;34(11):1559-65. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2010.105. Epub 2010 Jun 1.


The importance of white adipose tissue in the control of energy balance is now firmly recognized. In addition to fuel storage, adipocytes secrete an array of proteins factors (adipokines), which regulate multiple physiological and metabolic processes as well as influence body fat accumulation. Zinc-α2-glycoprotein (ZAG), a lipid mobilizing factor initially characterized as a tumor product associated with cachexia, has recently been identified as a novel adipokine. Although the exact role of ZAG in adipose tissue remains to be clarified, there is evidence that ZAG expression appears to be inversely related to adiposity, being upregulated in cachexia whereas reduced in obesity. Investigations on the regulation of ZAG give insights into its potential function in adipose tissue with a link to lipid mobilization and an anti-inflammatory action. Recent work shows that ZAG stimulates adiponectin secretion by human adipocytes. Data from genetic studies suggest that ZAG may be a candidate gene for body weight regulation; this is supported by the demonstration that ZAG-knockout mice are susceptible to weight gain, whereas transgenic mice overexpressing ZAG exhibit weight loss. The present review summarizes these new perspectives of ZAG and the potential mechanisms by which it might modulate adipose tissue mass and function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / metabolism*
  • Adipokines / metabolism*
  • Adipose Tissue, White / anatomy & histology
  • Adipose Tissue, White / metabolism*
  • Adipose Tissue, White / physiopathology
  • Adiposity / physiology
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Cachexia / metabolism*
  • Cachexia / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Seminal Plasma Proteins / genetics
  • Seminal Plasma Proteins / physiology*
  • Zn-Alpha-2-Glycoprotein


  • Adipokines
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Seminal Plasma Proteins
  • Zn-Alpha-2-Glycoprotein