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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Constitutive UCP3 overexpression at physiological levels increases mouse skeletal muscle capacity for fatty acid transport and oxidation.

Uncoupling protein 3 ( UCP3) expression is directly correlated to fatty acid oxidation in skeletal muscle. UCP3 has been hypothesized to facilitate high rates of fatty acid oxidation, but evidence thus far is lacking. Our aim was to investigate the effects of UCP3 overexpression and ablation on fatty acid uptake and metabolism in muscle of mice having congenic backgrounds. In mice constitutively expressing the UCP3 protein (human form) at levels just over twofold higher than normal (230% of wild-type levels), indirect calorimetry demonstrated no differences in total energy expenditure (VO2), but a shift toward increased fat oxidation compared with wild-type (WT) mice. Metabolic efficiency (gram weight gain/kcal ingested) was similar between Ucp3 overexpressors, WT and Ucp3 (-/-) mice. In muscle of Ucp3-tg mice, plasma membrane fatty acid binding protein (FABPpm) content was increased compared with WT mice. Although hormone-sensitive lipase activity was unchanged across the genotypes, there were increases in carnitine palmitoyltransferase I, beta-hydroxyacylCoA dehydrogenase, and citrate synthase activities and decreases in intramuscular triacylglycerol in muscle of Ucp3-tg mice. There were no differences in muscle mitochondrial content. High-energy phosphates and total muscle carnitine and CoA were also greater in Ucp3-tg compared with WT mice. Taken together, the findings demonstrate an increased capacity for fat oxidation in the absence of significant increases in thermogenesis in Ucp3-tg mice. Findings from Ucp3 (-/-) mice revealed few differences compared with WT mice, consistent with the possibility of compensatory mechanisms. In conjunction with our observed increases in CoA and carnitine in muscle of Ucp3 overexpressors, the findings support the hypothesized role for Ucp3 in facilitating fatty acid oxidation in muscle.[1]


  1. Constitutive UCP3 overexpression at physiological levels increases mouse skeletal muscle capacity for fatty acid transport and oxidation. Bezaire, V., Spriet, L.L., Campbell, S., Sabet, N., Gerrits, M., Bonen, A., Harper, M.E. FASEB J. (2005) [Pubmed]
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