C1q/TNF-related protein 6 (CTRP6) links obesity to adipose tissue inflammation and insulin resistance

Xia Lei, Marcus M. Seldin, Hannah C. Little, Nicholas Choy, Thomas Klonisch, G. William Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Obesity is associated with chronic low-grade inflammation, and metabolic regulators linking obesity to inflammation have therefore received much attention. Secreted C1q/TNF-related proteins (CTRPs) are one such group of regulators that regulate glucose and fat metabolism in peripheral tissues and modulate inflammation in adipose tissue. We have previously shown that expression of CTRP6 is up-regulated in leptin-deficient mice and, conversely, down-regulated by the anti-diabetic drug rosiglitazone. Here, we provide evidence for a novel role of CTRP6 in modulating both inflammation and insulin sensitivity. We found that in obese and diabetic humans and mouse models, CTRP6 expression was markedly up-regulated in adipose tissue and that stromal vascular cells, such as macrophages, are a major CTRP6 source. Overexpressing mouse or human CTRP6 impaired glucose disposal in peripheral tissues in response to glucose and insulin challenge in wild-type mice. Conversely, Ctrp6 gene deletion improved insulin action and increased metabolic rate and energy expenditure in diet-induced obese mice. Mechanistically, CTRP6 regulates local inflammation and glucose metabolism by targeting macrophages and adipocytes, respectively. In cultured macrophages, recombinant CTRP6 dose-dependently up-regulated the expression and production of TNF-α. Conversely, CTRP6 deficiency reduced circulating inflammatory cytokines and proinflammatory macrophages in adipose tissue. CTRP6-overexpressing mice or CTRP6-treated adipocytes had reduced insulin-stimulated Akt phosphorylation and glucose uptake. In contrast, loss of CTRP6 enhanced insulin-stimulated Akt activation in adipose tissue. Together, these results establish CTRP6 as a novel metabolic/immune regulator linking obesity to adipose tissue inflammation and insulin resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14836-14850
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number36
StatePublished - Sep 8 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'C1q/TNF-related protein 6 (CTRP6) links obesity to adipose tissue inflammation and insulin resistance'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this