Atg7 Knockdown Reduces Chemerin Secretion in Murine Adipocytes

Sascha Heinitz, Claudia Gebhardt, Paolo Piaggi, Jacqueline Krüger, Henrike Heyne, Juliane Weiner, John T. Heiker, Michael Stumvoll, Matthias Blüher, Leslie Baier, Assaf Rudich, Peter Kovacs, Anke Tönjes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Context: In individuals with obesity, adipocyte endocrine function is affected by altered autophagy. Genetic variants in autophagy-related gene 7 (ATG7) correlated with serum chemerin (RARRES2) concentrations. Objectives: To investigate a functional interplay between chemerin and ATG7, how it may relate to autophagy-mediated adipocyte dysfunction in obesity, and the relevance of genetic ATG7 variants in chemerin physiology. Design: Adipose ATG7 mRNA expression and adiposity measures were available in two human study cohorts. The effect of a high-calorie diet on adipose Rarres2 and Atg7 expression was investigated in mice. In 3T3-L1 adipocytes, the effect of Atg7 knockdown on chemerin expression and secretion was studied. The influence of single nucleotide polymorphisms on ATG7 transcription and chemerin physiology was investigated using a luciferase assay. Setting: Mouse model, clinical trials, in vitro studies. Participants: Native American (n = 83) and white (n = 100) cohorts. Main outcome measure: Adipocyte chemerin expression and secretion. Results: In mice fed a high-calorie diet, adipose Atg7 mRNA expression did not parallel an increase in Rarres2 mRNA expression. ATG7 mRNA expression in human subcutaneous adipose tissue correlated with body mass index, fat mass (r > 0.27; P < 0.01), and adipocyte cell size (r > 0.24; P < 0.02). Atg7 knockdown in 3T3-L1 adipocytes decreased chemerin secretion by 22% (P < 0.04). Rs2606729 in ATG7 was predicted to alter ATG7 transcription and induced higher luciferase activity in vitro (P < 0.0001). Conclusions: Human adipose ATG7 mRNA expression relates to measures of adiposity. Atg7 knockdown reduces chemerin secretion from adipocytes in vitro, supportive of a functional interplay between ATG7 and chemerin in autophagy-mediated adipocyte dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5715-5728
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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