Seipin deletion in mice enhances phosphorylation and aggregation of tau protein through reduced neuronal PPARγ and insulin resistance

Neurobiol Dis. 2019 Jul:127:350-361. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2019.03.023. Epub 2019 Mar 22.


Congenital generalized lipodystrophy 2 (CGL2) is characterized by loss of adipose tissue, insulin resistance and cognitive deficits and caused by mutation of BSCL2/seipin gene. Seipin deletion in mice and rats causes severe lipodystrophy, insulin resistance, and cognitive impairment. Hippocampal neurons express seipin protein. This study aimed to investigate the influence of systemic seipin knockout (seipin-sKO), neuronal seipin knockout (seipin-nKO) or adipose seipin knockout (seipin-aKO) in hippocampal tau phosphorylation and aggregation. Levels of tau phosphorylation at Thr212/Ser214 and Ser202/Thr205 and oligomer tau protein were increased in seipin-sKO mice and seipin-nKO mice with a decrease in axonal density and expression of PPARγ. Neuronal seipin deletion increased activities of GSK3β and Akt/mTOR signaling, which were corrected by the administration of PPARγ agonist rosiglitazone for 7 days. The autophagosome formation was reduced in seipin-sKO mice and seipin-nKO mice, which was rescued by the Akt and mTOR inhibitors. The administration of rosiglitazone or Akt, mTOR and GSK3β inhibitors for 7 days could correct the hyperphosphorylation and aggregation of tau. On the other hand, seipin-sKO mice appeared insulin resistance and an increase in phosphorylation of tau at Ser396 and JNK, which were corrected by treatment with rosiglitazone for 30 days rather than 7 days. Inhibition of JNK in seipin-sKO mice corrected the hyperphosphorylated tau at Ser396. The results indicate that neuronal seipin deletion causes hyperphosphorylation and aggregation of tau protein leading to axonal atrophy through reduced PPARγ to enhance GSK3β and Akt/mTOR signaling; systemic seipin deletion-induced insulin resistance causes tau hyperphosphorylation via cascading JNK pathway.

Keywords: GSK3β; Insulin resistance; Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR); Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPARγ); Seipin; Tau phosphorylation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / metabolism
  • Axons / pathology
  • GTP-Binding Protein gamma Subunits / genetics
  • GTP-Binding Protein gamma Subunits / metabolism*
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 beta / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / metabolism*
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Neurons / pathology
  • PPAR gamma / genetics
  • PPAR gamma / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Aggregation, Pathological / genetics
  • Protein Aggregation, Pathological / metabolism
  • Protein Aggregation, Pathological / pathology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • tau Proteins / metabolism*


  • Bscl2 protein, mouse
  • GTP-Binding Protein gamma Subunits
  • PPAR gamma
  • tau Proteins
  • Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 beta
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases