Recent insights into stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1

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Purpose of review

Stearoyl-Coenzyme A (CoA) desaturase is a central lipogenic enzyme catalyzing the synthesis of monounsaturated fatty acids - mainly oleate (C18:1). Oleate is the most abundant monounsaturated fatty acid in dietary fat and is therefore readily available. Why, then, is stearoyl-CoA desaturase a highly regulated enzyme? This review summarizes the recent and timely advances concerning the important role of stearoyl-CoA desaturase in metabolism.

Recent findings

Recent findings using mice that have a naturally occurring mutation in the SCD1 gene isoform as well as a mouse model with a targeted disruption of the stearoyl-CoA desaturase gene-1 (SCD1−/−) have revealed the role of de-novo synthesized oleate and thus the physiological importance of SCD1 expression. In the highlighted references, it is shown that the SCD1−/− mice have reduced body adiposity, increased insulin sensitivity, and are resistant to diet-induced obesity. The expression of several genes of lipid oxidation is upregulated, whereas lipid synthesis genes are downregulated. SCD1 was also found to be a component of the novel metabolic response to the hormone leptin.


SCD1, therefore, appears to be an important metabolic control point, and inhibition of its expression could be of benefit for the treatment of obesity, diabetes and other metabolic diseases.

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