Breast cancer 1 (BrCa1) may be behind decreased lipogenesis in adipose tissue from obese subjects

PLoS One. 2012;7(5):e33233. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0033233. Epub 2012 May 30.


Context: Expression and activity of the main lipogenic enzymes is paradoxically decreased in obesity, but the mechanisms behind these findings are poorly known. Breast Cancer 1 (BrCa1) interacts with acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) reducing the rate of fatty acid biosynthesis. In this study, we aimed to evaluate BrCa1 in human adipose tissue according to obesity and insulin resistance, and in vitro cultured adipocytes.

Research design and methods: BrCa1 gene expression, total and phosphorylated (P-) BrCa1, and ACC were analyzed in adipose tissue samples obtained from a total sample of 133 subjects. BrCa1 expression was also evaluated during in vitro differentiation of human adipocytes and 3T3-L1 cells.

Results: BrCa1 gene expression was significantly up-regulated in both omental (OM; 1.36-fold, p = 0.002) and subcutaneous (SC; 1.49-fold, p = 0.001) adipose tissue from obese subjects. In parallel with increased BrCa1 mRNA, P-ACC was also up-regulated in SC (p = 0.007) as well as in OM (p = 0.010) fat from obese subjects. Consistent with its role limiting fatty acid biosynthesis, both BrCa1 mRNA (3.5-fold, p<0.0001) and protein (1.2-fold, p = 0.001) were increased in pre-adipocytes, and decreased during in vitro adipogenesis, while P-ACC decreased during differentiation of human adipocytes (p = 0.005) allowing lipid biosynthesis. Interestingly, BrCa1 gene expression in mature adipocytes was restored by inflammatory stimuli (macrophage conditioned medium), whereas lipogenic genes significantly decreased.

Conclusions: The specular findings of BrCa1 and lipogenic enzymes in adipose tissue and adipocytes reported here suggest that BrCa1 might help to control fatty acid biosynthesis in adipocytes and adipose tissue from obese subjects.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3-L1 Cells
  • Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase / metabolism
  • Adipocytes / cytology
  • Adipocytes / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Adult
  • Animals
  • BRCA1 Protein / genetics
  • BRCA1 Protein / metabolism*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Humans
  • Lipogenesis*
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Obesity / genetics
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Obesity / pathology*
  • Phosphorylation
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism


  • BRCA1 Protein
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Acetyl-CoA Carboxylase