Metabolic impact of the glycerol channels AQP7 and AQP9 in adipose tissue and liver

    1. Janne Lebeck1,2
    1. 1The Danish Diabetes Academy, Odense, Denmark
      2Department of Biomedicine, Aarhus University, Wilhelm Meyers Allé 3, DK-8000 Aarhus, Denmark
    1. Correspondence should be addressed to J Lebeck; Email: jl{at}


    Obesity and secondary development of type 2 diabetes (T2D) are major health care problems throughout the developed world. Accumulating evidence suggest that glycerol metabolism contributes to the pathophysiology of obesity and T2D. Glycerol is a small molecule that serves as an important intermediate between carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. It is stored primarily in adipose tissue as the backbone of triglyceride (TG) and during states of metabolic stress, such as fasting and diabetes, it is released for metabolism in other tissues. In the liver, glycerol serves as a gluconeogenic precursor and it is used for the esterification of free fatty acid into TGs. Aquaporin 7 (AQP7) in adipose tissue and AQP9 in the liver are transmembrane proteins that belong to the subset of AQPs called aquaglyceroporins. AQP7 facilitates the efflux of glycerol from adipose tissue and AQP7 deficiency has been linked to TG accumulation in adipose tissue and adult onset obesity. On the other hand, AQP9 expressed in liver facilitates the hepatic uptake of glycerol and thereby the availability of glycerol for de novo synthesis of glucose and TG that both are involved in the pathophysiology of diabetes. The aim of this review was to summarize the current knowledge on the role of the two glycerol channels in controlling glycerol metabolism in adipose tissue and liver.

    • Revision received 18 January 2014
    • Accepted 23 January 2014
    • Made available online as an Accepted Preprint 24 January 2014
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