Proposed involvement of adipocyte glyceroneogenesis and phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase in the metabolic syndrome.
ABSTRACT Elevated concentration of plasma non-esterified fatty acids (NEFA) is now recognized as a key factor in the onset of insulin-resistance and type 2 diabetes mellitus. During fasting, circulating NEFAs arise from white adipose tissue (WAT) as a consequence of lipolysis from stored triacylglycerols. However, a significant part of these FAs (30-70%) is re-esterified within the adipocyte, so that a recycling occurs and net FA output is much less than < true > lipolysis. Indeed, a balance between two antagonistic processes, lipolysis and FA re-esterification, controls the rate of net FA release from WAT. During fasting, re-esterification requires glyceroneogenesis defined as the de novo synthesis of glycerol-3-P from pyruvate, lactate or certain amino acids. The key enzyme in this process is the cytosolic isoform of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK-C; EC 22.214.171.124). Recent advance has stressed the role of glyceroneogenesis and of PEPCK-C in FA release from WAT. Results indicate that glyceroneogenesis is indeed important to lipid homeostasis and that a disregulation in this pathway may have profound pathophysiological effects. The present review focuses on the regulation of glyceroneogenesis and of PEPCK-C gene expression and activity by FAs, retinoic acids, glucocorticoids and the hypolipidemic class of drugs, thiazolidinediones.