Lipocalin-2 Deficiency Attenuates Insulin Resistance Associated With Aging and Obesity

  1. Yu Wang1,2
  1. 1Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacy, the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China;
  2. 2Department of Medicine and Research Center of Heart, Brain, Hormone, and Healthy Aging, the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China;
  3. 3The Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research, Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada;
  4. 4Department of Biology, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
  1. Corresponding author: Yu Wang, yuwanghk{at}


OBJECTIVE The proinflammatory cytokines/adipokines produced from adipose tissue act in an autocrine and/or endocrine manner to perpetuate local inflammation and to induce peripheral insulin resistance. The present study investigates whether lipocalin-2 deficiency or replenishment with this adipokine has any impact on systemic insulin sensitivity and the underlying mechanisms.

METHODS AND RESULTS Under conditions of aging or dietary-/genetic-induced obesity, lipocalin-2 knockout (Lcn2-KO) mice show significantly decreased fasting glucose and insulin levels and improved insulin sensitivity compared with their wild-type littermates. Despite enlarged fat mass, inflammation and the accumulation of lipid peroxidation products are significantly attenuated in the adipose tissues of Lcn2-KO mice. Adipose fatty acid composition of these mice varies significantly from that in wild-type animals. The amounts of arachidonic acid (C20:4 n6) are elevated by aging and obesity and are paradoxically further increased in adipose tissue, but not skeletal muscle and liver of Lcn2-KO mice. On the other hand, the expression and activity of 12-lipoxygenase, an enzyme responsible for metabolizing arachidonic acid, and the production of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), a critical insulin resistance–inducing factor, are largely inhibited by lipocalin-2 deficiency. Lipocalin-2 stimulates the expression and activity of 12-lipoxygenase and TNF-α production in fat tissues. Cinnamyl-3,4-dihydroxy-α-cyanocinnamate (CDC), an arachidonate lipoxygenase inhibitor, prevents TNF-α expression induced by lipocalin-2. Moreover, treatment with TNF-α neutralization antibody or CDC significantly attenuated the differences of insulin sensitivity between wild-type and Lcn2-KO mice.

CONCLUSIONS Lipocalin-2 deficiency protects mice from developing aging- and obesity-induced insulin resistance largely by modulating 12-lipoxygenase and TNF-α levels in adipose tissue.


  • The costs of publication of this article were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. This article must therefore be hereby marked “advertisement” in accordance with 18 U.S.C. Section 1734 solely to indicate this fact.

    • Received October 16, 2009.
    • Accepted December 20, 2009.

Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. See for details.

| Table of Contents

This Article

  1. Diabetes vol. 59 no. 4 872-882
  1. Online-Only appendix
  2. All Versions of this Article:
    1. db09-1541v1
    2. 59/4/872 most recent