Variations in protein levels of the apelinergic system in adipose tissue of hypertensive individuals with class 3 obesity

Gene. 2023 Feb 20;854:147107. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2022.147107. Epub 2022 Dec 10.


The aim of this study was to investigate the expression of apelin (APLN) and its receptor (APLNR) in visceral adipose tissue (VAT), and its effect on the downstream expression of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) in individuals with class 3 obesity, with or without hypertension. Seventy-five unrelated individuals presenting obesity class 3 with or without hypertension were included. Gene expression of APLN, and APLNR were analyzed in VAT, by reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction. The APLN, APLNR and eNOS (total and phosphorylated) levels in VAT were evaluated by Western blot. Analysis of differences between groups of APLN, APLNR and eNOS were performed by a logistic regression adjusting by confounding factors. Forty-five individuals with hypertension formed the case group, and 30 individuals constituted the control group. The APLN mRNA and protein levels were higher in the group of individuals with hypertension versus individuals without hypertension (p = 0.027 and p = 0.036, respectively). Meanwhile, APLNR mRNA and protein levels in subjects with hypertension were lower versus the group of subjects without hypertension (p = 0.001 and p = 0.008, respectively). Further, the group with hypertension presented a lower level of phosphorylation of eNOS Ser1177, compared to the control group (p = 0.002). In conclusion, individuals with class 3 obesity and hypertension present a modified APLN/APLNR expression in visceral adipose tissue, which could be secondary to reduced eNOS phosphorylation.

Keywords: APLNR; Apelin; Hypertension; Obesity class 3; eNOS, visceral adipose tissue.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Apelin Receptors* / genetics
  • Apelin Receptors* / metabolism
  • Apelin* / genetics
  • Apelin* / metabolism
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Hypertension* / complications
  • Hypertension* / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III / metabolism
  • Obesity* / complications
  • Obesity* / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics


  • Apelin
  • Apelin Receptors
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type III
  • NOS3 protein, human
  • RNA, Messenger