CTRP12 ablation differentially affects energy expenditure, body weight, and insulin sensitivity in male and female mice

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2020 Jul 1;319(1):E146-E162. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00533.2019. Epub 2020 May 18.


Secreted hormones facilitate tissue cross talk to maintain energy balance. We previously described C1q/TNF-related protein 12 (CTRP12) as a novel metabolic hormone. Gain-of-function and partial-deficiency mouse models have highlighted important roles for this fat-derived adipokine in modulating systemic metabolism. Whether CTRP12 is essential and required for metabolic homeostasis is unknown. We show here that homozygous deletion of Ctrp12 gene results in sexually dimorphic phenotypes. Under basal conditions, complete loss of CTRP12 had little impact on male mice, whereas it decreased body weight (driven by reduced lean mass and liver weight) and improved insulin sensitivity in female mice. When challenged with a high-fat diet, Ctrp12 knockout (KO) male mice had decreased energy expenditure, increased weight gain and adiposity, elevated serum TNFα level, and reduced insulin sensitivity. In contrast, female KO mice had reduced weight gain and liver weight. The expression of lipid synthesis and catabolism genes, as well as profibrotic, endoplasmic reticulum stress, and oxidative stress genes were largely unaffected in the adipose tissue of Ctrp12 KO male mice. Despite greater adiposity and insulin resistance, Ctrp12 KO male mice fed an obesogenic diet had lower circulating triglyceride and free fatty acid levels. In contrast, lipid profiles of the leaner female KO mice were not different from those of WT controls. These data suggest that CTRP12 contributes to whole body energy metabolism in genotype-, diet-, and sex-dependent manners, underscoring complex gene-environment interactions influencing metabolic outcomes.

Keywords: C1q/TNF-related protein; CTRP12; diabetes; insulin resistance; lipid metabolism; obesity; secreted hormone.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adipokines / genetics*
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Adiposity / genetics
  • Animals
  • Body Weight / genetics*
  • Diet, High-Fat*
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress / genetics
  • Energy Metabolism / genetics*
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fibrosis / genetics
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene-Environment Interaction
  • Insulin Resistance / genetics*
  • Lipid Metabolism / genetics
  • Liver / pathology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Organ Size
  • Oxidative Stress / genetics
  • Sex Factors
  • Triglycerides / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism
  • Weight Gain / genetics


  • Adipokines
  • C1qtnf12 protein, mouse
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Tnf protein, mouse
  • Triglycerides
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha