We have previously demonstrated that the small leucine-rich proteoglycan decorin may play a role in adipose tissue homeostasis and the pathophysiology of obesity. Biglycan is highly similar in structure to decorin, therefore we hypothesized it would have a similar expression profile and role to decorin in adipose tissue. Real time polymerase chain reaction was used to measure biglycan mRNA levels in adipose tissue from normal glucose tolerant and impaired glucose tolerant and type 2 diabetic (T2D) Psammomys obesus. Biglycan mRNA was found to be highly expressed in adipose tissue, and gene expression was significantly higher in visceral compared to subcutaneous adipose tissue, with elevated levels in obese, T2D compared to lean normal glucose tolerant P. obesus (P < 0.04). Biglycan mRNA was predominantly expressed by stromal/vascular cells of fractionated adipose tissue (P = 0.023). Biglycan expression in adipose tissue, particularly in the obese state, was markedly upregulated. Collectively, our data suggest that the small leucine-rich proteoglycan family proteins biglycan and decorin may play a role in the development of obesity and T2D, possibly by facilitating expansion of adipose tissue mass.
Keywords: biglycan, small leucine-rich proteoglycan, Psammomys obesus, adipose tissue, obesity, type 2 diabetes