Expression of the human apoE2 isoform in adipocytes: altered cellular processing and impaired adipocyte lipogenesis

J Lipid Res. 2011 Sep;52(9):1733-41. doi: 10.1194/jlr.M017160. Epub 2011 Jul 8.


Expression of apoE in adipocytes has been shown to have an important role in modulating adipocyte triglyceride (TG) metabolism and gene expression that is independent of circulating and extracellular apoE. The impact of adipocyte expression of common human apoE isoforms was evaluated using adipocytes harvested from human apoE2, -3, and -4 knock-in mice. Expression of the apoE2 isoform was associated with an increase in adipocyte apoE gene expression and apoE synthesis. Newly synthesized apoE2 was unstable in adipocytes and demonstrated increased degradation and decreased secretion. ApoE2-expressing mice were hyperlipidemic, and had increased size of gonadal fat pads and of adipocytes, compared with apoE3 mice. In isolated cells, however, expression of the apoE2 isoform produced defective lipogenesis and increased TG hydrolysis. Incubation of adipose tissue with apoE3-containing TG-rich lipoproteins resulted in a significant increase in TG in adipose tissue from apoE3 and -E4 mice, but not apoE2 mice. Reduced capacity to internalize FFA as lipogenic substrate contributed to defective lipogenesis. Newly synthesized apoE2 is unstable in adipocytes and results in decreased adipocyte TG synthesis and defective FA uptake. These changes recapitulate those observed in apoE knockout adipocytes and have implications for understanding metabolic disturbances in humans expressing the E2 isoform.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / cytology
  • Adipocytes / drug effects
  • Adipocytes / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Apolipoprotein E2 / genetics
  • Apolipoprotein E2 / metabolism*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Fatty Acids / metabolism
  • Gene Knock-In Techniques
  • Humans
  • Lipogenesis / physiology*
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics
  • Protein Isoforms / metabolism*
  • Tissue Culture Techniques


  • Apolipoprotein E2
  • Fatty Acids
  • Lipoproteins, VLDL
  • Protein Isoforms