The physiological roles of apolipoprotein J/clusterin in metabolic and cardiovascular diseases

S. Park, K. W. Mathis, I. K. Lee

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98 Scopus citations


Several isoforms of apolipoprotein J/clusterin (CLU) are encoded from a single gene located on chromosome 8 in humans. These isoforms are ubiquitously expressed in the tissues, and have been implicated in aging, neurodegenerative disorders, cancer progression, and metabolic/cardiovascular diseases including dyslipidemia, diabetes, atherosclerosis and myocardial infarction. The conventional secreted form of CLU (sCLU) is thought to be a component of high density lipoprotein-cholesterol. sCLU functions as a chaperone for misfolded proteins and it is thought to promote survival by reducing oxidative stress. Nuclear CLU, a truncated CLU formed by alternative splicing, is responsible for promoting apoptosis via a Bax-dependent pathway. There are putative regulatory sites in the promoter regions of CLU, which are occupied by transcription factors such as transforming growth factor (TGF)-β inhibitory element, activator protein-1, CLU-specific elements, and carbohydrate response element. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying the distinct roles of CLU in a variety of conditions remain unclear. Although the function of CLU in cancer or neurological disease has been studied intensively for three decades, physiological roles of CLU seem unexplored in the cardiovascular system and metabolic diseases. In this review, we will discuss general characteristics and regulations of CLU based on previous literature and assess the recent findings associated with its physiological roles in different tissues including the vasculature, heart, liver, kidney, adipose tissue, and brain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-53
Number of pages9
JournalReviews in Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Atherosclerosis
  • Clusterin-deficient mice
  • Diabetes
  • High density cholesterol
  • Oxidative stress


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