Lower zinc-α2-glycoprotein production by adipose tissue and liver in obese patients unrelated to insulin resistance

David M. Selva, Albert Lecube, Cristina Hernández, Juan A. Baena, José M. Fort, Rafael Simó

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)


Context: Zinc-α2 glycoprotein (ZAG) has been proposed as a new candidate in the pathogenesis of obesity, but most of the information stems from studies performed in rodents and in vitro assays. Objective: The main aim of the study was to compare serum levels of ZAG and its expression (mRNA levels and protein) in adipose tissue and the liver between obese and nonobese subjects. The relationship between ZAG and insulin resistance was also explored. Design: This was a case-control study. Setting: The study was conducted at a university referral center. Patients and Methods: Samples of serum, sc adipose tissue (SAT), visceral adipose tissue (VAT), and liver were obtained from 20 obese subjects during bariatric surgery. Samples from 10 nonobese patients matched by age and gender were used as a control group. Serum ZAG levels were determined by ELISA. ZAG mRNA levels were measured by real-time PCR and protein content by Western blot. The effect of insulin on liver production of ZAG was assessed using HepG2 cultures. Results: Serum concentration of ZAG (micrograms per milliliter) was significantly lower in obese subjects (40.87 ± 10.45 vs. 63.26 ± 16.40; P = 0.002). ZAG expression was significantly lower in the adipose tissue (SAT and VAT) and liver of obese patients than in control subjects. Significant negative correlations between body mass index and circulating ZAG (r= -0.65, P < 0.001) as well as between body mass index and mRNA ZAG levels in SAT (r = -0.68, P < 0.001) and VAT were detected (r = -0.64, P < 0.001). No relationship was found between ZAG and homeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance and insulin had no effect on ZAG production in vitro. Conclusion: A down-regulation of ZAG in SAT, VAT, and liver exists in obese patients but seems unrelated to insulin resistance. Copyright © 2009 by The Endocrine Society.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4499-4507
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009


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