Endocrinology and Metabolism

Preferential impact of pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A deficiency on visceral fat in mice on high-fat diet

Cheryl A. Conover, Sara L. Harstad, Tamar Tchkonia, James L. Kirkland


Accumulation of visceral fat, more so than subcutaneous fat, is strongly associated with severe metabolic complications. However, the factors regulating depot-specific adipogenesis are poorly understood. In this study, we show differential expression of pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A (PAPP-A), a secreted regulator of local insulin-like growth factor (IGF) action, in adipose tissue of mice. PAPP-A mRNA expression was fivefold higher in visceral (mesenteric) fat compared with subcutaneous (inguinal, subscapular), perirenal, and brown fat of mice. To investigate the possible role of depot-specific PAPP-A expression in fat accumulation, wild-type (WT) and PAPP-A knockout (KO) mice were fed a high-fat diet (HFD) for up to 20 wk. Adipocyte size increased in subcutaneous and perirenal depots similarly in WT and PAPP-A KO mice. However, fat cell size and in vivo lipid uptake were significantly reduced in mesenteric fat of PAPP-A KO compared with WT mice. After 20 wk on HFD, phosphorylation of AKT, a downstream signaling intermediate of IGF-I and insulin receptor activation, was significantly decreased by 50% in mesenteric compared with subcutaneous fat in WT mice, but was significantly increased threefold in mesenteric compared with subcutaneous fat in PAPP-A KO mice. This appeared to be because of enhanced insulin-stimulated signaling in mesenteric fat of PAPP-A KO mice. These data establish fat depot-specific expression of PAPP-A and indicate preferential impact of PAPP-A deficiency on visceral fat in the mouse that is associated with enhanced insulin receptor signaling. Thus, PAPP-A may be a potential target for treatment and/or prevention strategies for visceral obesity and related morbidities.

  • adipose tissue
  • mesenteric fat
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