Perilipin-2 deletion promotes carbohydrate-mediated browning of white adipose tissue at ambient temperature

J Lipid Res. 2018 Aug;59(8):1482-1500. doi: 10.1194/jlr.M086249. Epub 2018 Jun 4.


Mice lacking perilipin-2 (Plin2-null) are resistant to obesity, insulin resistance, and fatty liver induced by Western or high-fat diets. In the current study, we found that, compared with WT mice on Western diet, Plin2-null adipose tissue was more insulin sensitive and inguinal subcutaneous white adipose tissue (iWAT) exhibited profound browning and robust induction of thermogenic and carbohydrate-responsive genetic programs at room temperature. Surprisingly, these Plin2-null responses correlated with the content of simple carbohydrates, rather than fat, in the diet, and were independent of adipose Plin2 expression. To define Plin2 and sugar effects on adipose browning, WT and Plin2-null mice were placed on chow diets containing 20% sucrose in their drinking water for 6 weeks. Compared with WT mice, iWAT of Plin2-null mice exhibited pronounced browning and striking increases in the expression of thermogenic and insulin-responsive genes on this diet. Significantly, Plin2-null iWAT browning was associated with reduced sucrose intake and elevated serum fibroblast growth factor (FGF)21 levels, which correlated with greatly enhanced hepatic FGF21 production. These data identify Plin2 actions as novel mediators of sugar-induced adipose browning through indirect effects of hepatic FGF21 expression, and suggest that adipose browning mechanisms may contribute to Plin2-null resistance to obesity.

Keywords: adipocytes; beige adipose tissue; fatty acid; inguinal subcutaneous white adipose tissue; insulin resistance; lipid droplets; mass spectrometry; nutrition/carbohydrate; obesity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / cytology*
  • Adipose Tissue, Brown / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue, White / cytology*
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism*
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / blood
  • Gene Deletion*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Insulin Resistance / genetics
  • Lipogenesis / genetics
  • Mice
  • Perilipin-2 / deficiency*
  • Perilipin-2 / genetics*
  • Temperature*
  • Thermogenesis / genetics


  • Biomarkers
  • Perilipin-2
  • fibroblast growth factor 21
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors