Perilipin family (PLIN) proteins in human skeletal muscle: the effect of sex, obesity, and endurance training Journal Articles uri icon

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  • Proteins that coat the lipid droplets (also known as PAT proteins or perilipin (PLIN) family proteins) have diverse functions that are not well elucidated in many tissues. In skeletal muscle, there is even less known about the functions or characteristics of these proteins or how they might change in response to perturbations that alter both intramyocellular lipid (IMCL) content and fat utilization and oxidation. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the human muscle content and gene expression of the four skeletal muscle PLIN proteins in both lean and obese men and women and how this was changed following a 12-week endurance training protocol. PLIN2–PLIN5 proteins were all more abundant in women than in men (p = 0.037 and p < 0.0001, respectively), consistent with higher IMCL content observed in female skeletal muscle. PLIN5 (previously known as OXPAT) is of particular interest because it has previously been associated primarily with oxidative tissues that rely heavily on fat oxidation for energy production. Although PLIN5 was not different between lean and obese subjects, it was the only PLIN protein to increase in response to endurance training in both sexes. PLIN5 correlated with IMCL volume (p < 0.0001), but in general, the other PLIN proteins did not correlate well with IMCL volume, suggesting that the relationship between lipid accumulation and PLIN family protein content is not a simple one. Although more work is necessary, it is clear that PLIN5 likely plays an important role in IMCL accumulation and oxidation, both of which increase with endurance training in human skeletal muscle.


  • Peters, Sandra J
  • Samjoo, Imtiaz A
  • Devries, Michaela C
  • Stevic, Ivan
  • Robertshaw, Holly A
  • Tarnopolsky, Mark

publication date

  • August 2012

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