Vital role of FKBP51 signalling molecule in obesity

Researchers from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine and the University of Toledo suggests a vital role for the signalling molecule, FKBP51, in metabolism and the progression of obesity. The study, ‘FKBP51 and the molecular chaperoning of metabolism’, published in Trends in Endocrinology & Metabolism, outlines the various roles that FKBP51 and other related proteins have on the body that cause fat accumulation and obesity.

Led by Dr Terry D Hinds, associate professor in the UK Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences, found that many of these functions are linked to signalling mechanisms throughout the body, including fat, skeletal muscle and skin. In addition, FKBP51 is highest expressed in adipose, possibly to aid in fat accumulation.


FKBP51 expression in adipose tissue increases with the formation of new fat cells, a process called adipogenesis. Blocking FKBP51 leads to a decline in fat accumulation in animal models and improved insulin signalling, indicating that inhibiting FKBP51 might also be helpful for insulin-resistant Type 2 diabetes.


Hinds suggests that targeting FKBP51 with therapeutics may be useful for the treatment of obesity in the future. His studies have focused on this topic for nearly two decades and have pioneered research focused on FKBP51 and its role in adipose tissue and diabetes.


According to the Center for Disease Control, 73.6% of adults are either overweight or obese. With this high prevalence, Hinds hopes this article will ignite future research into investigating FKBP51 in human obesity and diabetes in hopes of developing safe and effective treatments.