Autotaxin (ATX) is a secreted lysophospholipase D that generates the lipid mediator lysophosphatidic acid (LPA). ATX is secreted by adipose tissue and its expression is enhanced in obese/insulin-resistant individuals. Here, we analyzed the specific contribution of adipose-ATX to fat expansion associated with nutritional obesity and its consequences on plasma LPA levels. We established ATXF/F/aP2-Cre (FATX-KO) transgenic mice carrying a null ATX allele specifically in adipose tissue. FATX-KO mice and their control littermates were fed either a normal or a high-fat diet (HFD) (45% fat) for 13 weeks. FATX-KO mice showed a strong decrease (up to 90%) in ATX expression in white and brown adipose tissue, but not in other ATX-expressing organs. This was associated with a 38% reduction in plasma LPA levels. When fed an HFD, FATX-KO mice showed a higher fat mass and a higher adipocyte size than control mice although food intake was unchanged. This was associated with increased expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)γ2 and of PPAR-sensitive genes (aP2, adiponectin, leptin, glut-1) in subcutaneous white adipose tissue, as well as in an increased tolerance to glucose. These results show that adipose-ATX is a negative regulator of fat mass expansion in response to an HFD and contributes to plasma LPA levels
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