Aquaglyceroporins (AQP3, AQP7, AQP9 and AQP10) encompass a subfamily of aquaporins that allow the movement of water and other small solutes, especially glycerol, through cell membranes. Adipose tissue constitutes a major source of glycerol via AQP7.
We have recently reported that, in addition to the well-known expression of AQP7 in adipose tissue, AQP3 and AQP9 are also expressed in omental and subcutaneous fat depots. Moreover, insulin and leptin act as regulators of aquaglyceroporins through the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway. AQP3 and AQP7 appear to facilitate glycerol efflux from adipose tissue while reducing the glycerol influx into hepatocytes via AQP9 to prevent the excessive lipid accumulation and the subsequent aggravation of hyperglycemia in human obesity.
This Extra View focuses on the control of glycerol release by aquaglyceroporins in the adipose tissue and briefly discusses the importance of glycerol as a substrate for hepatic gluconeogenesis, pancreatic insulin secretion and cardiac ATP production.
CITATION Cell Cycle. 2011 May 15;10(10):1548-56. Epub 2011 May 15