Obesity and increased contractile activity influence the protein content of UCP2 in human skeletal muscle

Jean Aimé Simoneau, D. E. Kelley, Craig H Warden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The newly discovered uncoupling protein-2 (UCP2) has been proposed to play a critical role in thermoregulatory and substrate oxidation processes. Skeletal muscle mRNA expression and, more recently, the protein content of UCP2 were investigated in humans. These studies have shown that the content of this protein varies quite substantially and that several factors could be responsible for its variation in human skeletal muscle. The aim of this review is to determine whether obesity and low-intensity increased contractile activity contribute to variation in muscle UCP2 content. A recent study from our laboratories revealed that, in obesity, UCP2 content in skeletal muscle is overexpressed by about 1.5-fold compared to lean. Body weight loss in obese subjects did not cause any change in skeletal muscle UCP2 content. On the other hand, when increased muscular contractile activity of knee extensor muscles is induced by several weeks of low-frequency electrical stimulation, UCP2 content increased by about 15%. Obesity and increased contractile activity do not appear sufficient, however, to explain the magnitude of the human skeletal muscle variation in UCP2 content. Since intensive efforts are being devoted to this area of research, it is expected that our understanding of the causes contributing to its variation in humans will soon be substantially improved.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalInternational Journal of Obesity
Issue numberSUPPL. 6
StatePublished - 1999


  • Body weight loss
  • Muscular contractile activity
  • Obesity
  • Skeletal muscle
  • UCP2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Endocrinology
  • Food Science
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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