Overexpressing the novel autocrine/endocrine adipokine WISP2 induces hyperplasia of the heart, white and brown adipose tissues and prevents insulin resistance

Sci Rep. 2017 Feb 27;7:43515. doi: 10.1038/srep43515.


WISP2 is a novel adipokine, most highly expressed in the adipose tissue and primarily in undifferentiated mesenchymal cells. As a secreted protein, it is an autocrine/paracrine activator of canonical WNT signaling and, as an intracellular protein, it helps to maintain precursor cells undifferentiated. To examine effects of increased WISP2 in vivo, we generated an aP2-WISP2 transgenic (Tg) mouse. These mice had increased serum levels of WISP2, increased lean body mass and whole body energy expenditure, hyperplastic brown/white adipose tissues and larger hyperplastic hearts. Obese Tg mice remained insulin sensitive, had increased glucose uptake by adipose cells and skeletal muscle in vivo and ex vivo, increased GLUT4, increased ChREBP and markers of adipose tissue lipogenesis. Serum levels of the novel fatty acid esters of hydroxy fatty acids (FAHFAs) were increased and transplantation of Tg adipose tissue improved glucose tolerance in recipient mice supporting a role of secreted FAHFAs. The growth-promoting effect of WISP2 was shown by increased BrdU incorporation in vivo and Tg serum increased mesenchymal precursor cell proliferation in vitro. In contrast to conventional canonical WNT ligands, WISP2 expression was inhibited by BMP4 thereby allowing normal induction of adipogenesis. WISP2 is a novel secreted regulator of mesenchymal tissue cellularity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue, White / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Autocrine Communication
  • Biomarkers
  • Body Composition
  • Body Weight
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein 4 / metabolism
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cell Size
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Gene Expression*
  • Genotype
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Glucose Transporter Type 4 / genetics
  • Glucose Transporter Type 4 / metabolism
  • Hyperplasia
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance / genetics*
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / genetics*
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism*
  • Lipogenesis / genetics
  • Male
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Myocardium / metabolism*
  • Myocardium / pathology*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism


  • Biomarkers
  • Bmp4 protein, mouse
  • Bone Morphogenetic Protein 4
  • Glucose Transporter Type 4
  • Insulin
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • WISP-2 protein, mouse
  • Glucose