Acylation stimulating protein (ASP) is a potent lipogenic factor produced from adipocytes. Plasma ASP levels were shown to increase in obesity, diabetes mellitus type II and dyslipidemia, and decrease after weight loss and fasting.
Growing evidence suggests that ASP may significantly contribute to subcutaneous fat storage in females. In vitro, ASP stimulated triglyceride synthesis to a larger extent in subcutaneous compared with omental adipocytes. The ASP receptor binding affinity to plasma membranes prepared from adipose tissue showed higher binding affinity to plasma membranes from female adipose tissue compared with male adipose tissue, and was more pronounced to subcutaneous compared with omental plasma membranes. Human studies demonstrated that postprandial triglyceride clearance predicted by ASP levels was more efficient in women than in men. In mice, postprandial triglyceride clearance, with intraperitoneal ASP administration, was faster in females compared with males. The ASP deficient mice were resistant to weight gain and had reduced fat mass that was more pronounced in females.
Recent findings in humans and mice point to a significant association between progesterone and ASP variations in females. In this review, we highlight findings, to date, linking ASP to physiological and hormonal alterations that may contribute to subcutaneous fat distribution typical to females.