Inactivation of Plin4 downregulates Plin5 and reduces cardiac lipid accumulation in mice

Weiqin Chen, Benny Chang, Xinyu Wu, Lan Li, Mark Sleeman, Lawrence Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Plin4 is a lipid droplet protein (LDP) found predominantly in white adipose tissue (WAT). The Plin4 gene is immediately downstream of the Plin5 gene; the two genes exhibit distinct though overlapping tissue expression patterns. Plin4 is absent in brown adipose tissue (BAT) and liver and expressed at low levels in heart and skeletal muscle, whereas Plin5 is highly expressed in these oxidative tissues but at a low level in WAT. The physiological role of Plin4 remains unclear. We have generated Plin4-/- mice by gene targeting. Loss of Plin4 has no effect on body weight or composition or on adipose mass or development. However, the triacylglycerol (TAG) content in heart, but not other oxidative tissues such as BAT, soleus muscle, and liver, is markedly reduced in Plin4-/- mice. The heart of Plin4-/- mice displays reduced Plin5 mRNA and protein levels (by -38 and 87%, respectively, vs. wild-type) but unchanged mRNA levels of other perilipin family genes (Plin2 and Plin3) or genes involved in glucose and lipid metabolism. Despite reduced cardiac TAG level, both young and aged Plin4-/- mice maintain normal heart function as wild-type mice, as measured by echocardiography. Interestingly, Plin4 deficiency prevents the lipid accumulation in the heart that normally occurs after a prolonged (48-h) fast. It also protects the heart from cardiac steatosis induced by high-fat diet or when Plin4-/- mice are bred into Lep-/- obese background. In conclusion, inactivation of Plin4 downregulates Plin5 and reduces cardiac lipid accumulation in mice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E770-E779
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Adipose tissue development
  • Cardiac lipid storage
  • Lipid droplet protein
  • Plin4
  • Plin5

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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