Alpha-syntrophin deficient mice are protected from adipocyte hypertrophy and ectopic triglyceride deposition in obesity

Exp Mol Pathol. 2018 Jun;104(3):212-221. doi: 10.1016/j.yexmp.2018.04.003. Epub 2018 Apr 24.


Alpha-syntrophin (SNTA) is a molecular adapter protein which is expressed in adipocytes. Knock-down of SNTA in 3T3-L1 preadipocytes increases cell proliferation, and differentiated adipocytes display small lipid droplets. These effects are both characteristics of healthy adipose tissue growth which is associated with metabolic improvements in obesity. To evaluate a role of SNTA in adipose tissue morphology and obesity associated metabolic dysfunction, SNTA deficient mice were fed a standard chow or a high fat diet. Mice deficient of SNTA had less fat mass and smaller adipocytes in obesity when compared to control animals. Accordingly, these animals did not develop liver steatosis and did not store excess triglycerides in skeletal muscle upon high fat diet feeding. SNTA-/- animals were protected from hyperinsulinemia and hepatic insulin resistance. Of note, body-weight, food uptake, and serum lipids were normal in the SNTA null mice. SNTA was induced in adipose tissues but not in the liver of diet induced obese and ob/ob mice. In human subcutaneous and visceral fat of seven patients SNTA was similarly expressed and was not associated with body mass index. Current data demonstrate beneficial effects of SNTA deficiency in obesity which is partly attributed to smaller adipocytes and reduced white adipose tissue mass. Higher SNTA protein in fat depots of obese mice may contribute to adipose tissue hypertrophy and ectopic lipid deposition which has to be confirmed in humans.

Keywords: Fatty liver; Insulin signaling; White adipose tissue.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / metabolism
  • Adipocytes / pathology*
  • Animals
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects
  • Hypertrophy / etiology
  • Hypertrophy / pathology
  • Hypertrophy / prevention & control*
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / metabolism
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / pathology*
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Obese
  • Muscle Proteins / physiology*
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / physiopathology
  • Triglycerides / metabolism*


  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Triglycerides
  • syntrophin alpha1