Leptin-mediated differential regulation of microsomal triglyceride transfer protein in the intestine and liver affects plasma lipids

Jahangir Iqbal, Eduardo Mascareno, Streamson Chua, M. Mahmood Hussain

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The hormone leptin regulates fat storage and metabolism by signaling through the brain and peripheral tissues. Lipids delivered to peripheral tissues originate mostly from the intestine and liver via synthesis and secretion of apolipoprotein B (apoB)containing lipoproteins. An intracellular chaperone, microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTP), is required for the biosynthesis of these lipoproteins, and its regulation determines fat mobilization to different tissues. Using cell culture and animal models, here we sought to identify the effects of leptin on MTP expression in the intestine and liver. Leptin decreased MTP expression in differentiated intestinal Caco-2 cells, but increased expression in hepatic Huh7 cells. Similarly, acute and chronic leptin treatment of chow diet-fed WT mice decreased MTP expression in the intestine, increased it in the liver, and lowered plasma triglyceride levels. These leptin effects required the presence of leptin receptors (LEPRs). Further experiments also suggested that leptin interacted with long-form LEPR (ObRb), highly expressed in the intestine, to down-regulate MTP. In contrast, in the liver, leptin interacted with short-form LEPR (ObRa) to increase MTP expression. Mechanistic experiments disclosed that leptin activates signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathways in intestinal and hepatic cells, respectively, and thereby regulates divergent MTP expression. Our results also indicated that leptin-mediated MTP regulation in the intestine affects plasma lipid levels. In summary, our findings suggest that leptin regulates MTP expression differentially by engaging with different LEPR types and activating distinct signaling pathways in intestinal and hepatic cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4101-4113
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number13
StatePublished - Mar 27 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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