OBJECTIVE—The expansion of adipose tissue is linked to the development of its vasculature. However, the regulation of adipose tissue angiogenesis in humans has not been extensively studied. Our aim was to compare the angiogenesis associated with subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) and visceral adipose tissue (VAT) from the same obese patients in an in vivo model.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—Adipose tissue samples from visceral (VAT) and subcutaneous (SAT) sites, obtained from 36 obese patients (mean BMI 46.5 kg/m2) during bariatric surgery, were layered on chick chorioallantoïc membrane (CAM).
RESULTS—Both SAT and VAT expressed angiogenic factors without significant difference for vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) expression. Adipose tissue layered on CAM stimulated angiogenesis. Angiogenic stimulation was macroscopically detectable, with engulfment of the samples, in 39% and was evidenced by angiography in 59% of the samples. A connection between CAM and adipose tissue vessels was evidenced by immunohistochemistry, with recruitment of both avian and human endothelial cells. The angiogenic potency of adipose tissue was not related to its localization (with an angiogenic stimulation in 60% of SAT samples and 61% of VAT samples) or to adipocyte size or inflammatory infiltrate assessed in adipose samples before the graft on CAM. Stimulation of angiogenesis by adipose tissue was nearly abolished by bevacizumab, which specifically targets human VEGF.
CONCLUSIONS—We have established a model to study the regulation of angiogenesis by human adipose tissue. This model highlighted the role of VEGF in angiogenesis in both SAT and VAT.
Munc18c is associated with glucose metabolism and could play a relevant role in obesity. However, little is known about the regulation of Munc18c expression. We analyzed Munc18c gene expression in human visceral (VAT) and subcutaneous (SAT) adipose tissue and its relationship with obesity and insulin.
Materials and Methods
We evaluated 70 subjects distributed in 12 non-obese lean subjects, 23 overweight subjects, 12 obese subjects and 23 nondiabetic morbidly obese patients (11 with low insulin resistance and 12 with high insulin resistance).
The lean, overweight and obese persons had a greater Munc18c gene expression in adipose tissue than the morbidly obese patients (p<0.001). VAT Munc18c gene expression was predicted by the body mass index (B = −0.001, p = 0.009). In SAT, no associations were found by different multiple regression analysis models. SAT Munc18c gene expression was the main determinant of the improvement in the HOMA-IR index 15 days after bariatric surgery (B = −2148.4, p = 0.038). SAT explant cultures showed that insulin produced a significant down-regulation of Munc18c gene expression (p = 0.048). This decrease was also obtained when explants were incubated with liver X receptor alpha (LXRα) agonist, either without (p = 0.038) or with insulin (p = 0.050). However, Munc18c gene expression was not affected when explants were incubated with insulin plus a sterol regulatory element-binding protein-1c (SREBP-1c) inhibitor (p = 0.504).
Munc18c gene expression in human adipose tissue is down-regulated in morbid obesity. Insulin may have an effect on the Munc18c expression, probably through LXRα and SREBP-1c.
During the expansion of fat mass in obesity, vascularization of adipose tissue is insufficient to maintain tissue normoxia. Local hypoxia develops and may result in altered adipokine expression, proinflammatory macrophage recruitment, and insulin resistance. We investigated whether an increase in adipose tissue angiogenesis could protect against obesity-induced hypoxia and, consequently, insulin resistance. Transgenic mice overexpressing vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in brown adipose tissue (BAT) and white adipose tissue (WAT) were generated. Vessel formation, metabolism, and inflammation were studied in VEGF transgenic mice and wild-type littermates fed chow or a high-fat diet. Overexpression of VEGF resulted in increased blood vessel number and size in both WAT and BAT and protection against high-fat diet–induced hypoxia and obesity, with no differences in food intake. This was associated with increased thermogenesis and energy expenditure. Moreover, whole-body insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance were improved. Transgenic mice presented increased macrophage infiltration, with a higher number of M2 anti-inflammatory and fewer M1 proinflammatory macrophages than wild-type littermates, thus maintaining an anti-inflammatory milieu that could avoid insulin resistance. These studies suggest that overexpression of VEGF in adipose tissue is a potential therapeutic strategy for the prevention of obesity and insulin resistance.
Zinc-α2 glycoprotein (ZAG) stimulates lipid loss by adipocytes and may be involved in the regulation of adipose tissue metabolism. However, to date no studies have been made in the most extreme of obesity. The aims of this study are to analyze ZAG expression levels in adipose tissue from morbidly obese patients, and their relationship with lipogenic and lipolytic genes and with insulin resistance (IR).
mRNA expression levels of PPARγ, IRS-1, IRS-2, lipogenic and lipolytic genes and ZAG were quantified in visceral (VAT) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) of 25 nondiabetic morbidly obese patients, 11 with low IR and 14 with high IR. Plasma ZAG was also analyzed.
The morbidly obese patients with low IR had a higher VAT ZAG expression as compared with the patients with high IR (p = 0.023). In the patients with low IR, the VAT ZAG expression was greater than that in SAT (p = 0.009). ZAG expression correlated between SAT and VAT (r = 0.709, p<0.001). VAT ZAG expression was mainly predicted by insulin, HOMA-IR, plasma adiponectin and expression of adiponectin and ACSS2. SAT ZAG expression was only predicted by expression of ATGL.
ZAG could be involved in modulating lipid metabolism in adipose tissue and is associated with insulin resistance. These findings suggest that ZAG may be a useful target in obesity and related disorders, such as diabetes.
1. Recent studies suggest that a local hypoxic response leads to chronic inflammation in adipose tissue of obese individuals. The adipose tissue hypoxia may reflect a compensatory failure in the local vasculature system in response to obesity.
2. Studies suggest that inflammation stimulates angiogenesis and inhibits adipocyte activities in a feedback manner within the obese adipose tissue. Adipose-derived stem cells (ASCs) are able to differentiate into multiple linages of progenitor cells for adipocytes, endothelial cells, fibroblasts and pericytes. Differentiation of ASCs into those progenitors is regulated by the adipose tissue microenvironment.
3. As a major factor in the microenvironment, inflammation may favor ASC differentiation into the endothelial cells through induction of angiogenic factors. At the same time, inflammation inhibits ASC differentiation into adipocytes by suppressing PPARγ activity and insulin signaling pathway. In this context, inflammation may serve as a signal mediating the competition between adipocytes and endothelial cells for the limited source of ASC.
4. It is a new concept that inflammation mediates signals in the competition between adipocytes and endothelial cells for the limited ASC in obesity. There is a lot of evidence that inflammation promotes endothelial cell differentiation. However, this activity of inflammation remains to be established in adipose tissue. Literature is explored in this review article in support of this conclusion.
Adipose-derived stem cell; Cell differentiation; Adipose tissue; Adipocytes; Endothelial cells; Inflammation; Obesity
Troglitazone (CS-045) is one of the thiazolidinediones that activate the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARgamma), which is expressed primarily in adipose tissues. To elucidate the mechanism by which troglitazone relieves insulin resistance in vivo, we studied its effects on the white adipose tissues of an obese animal model (obese Zucker rat). Administration of troglitazone for 15 d normalized mild hyperglycemia and marked hyperinsulinemia in these rats. Plasma triglyceride level was decreased by troglitazone in both obese and lean rats. Troglitazone did not change the total weight of white adipose tissues but increased the number of small adipocytes (< 2,500 micron2) approximately fourfold in both retroperitoneal and subcutaneous adipose tissues of obese rats. It also decreased the number of large adipocytes (> 5,000 micron2) by approximately 50%. In fact, the percentage of apoptotic nuclei was approximately 2.5-fold higher in the troglitazone-treated retroperitoneal white adipose tissue than control. Concomitantly, troglitazone normalized the expression levels of TNF-alpha which were elevated by 2- and 1.4-fold in the retroperitoneal and mesenteric white adipose tissues of the obese rats, respectively. Troglitazone also caused a dramatic decrease in the expression levels of leptin, which were increased by 4-10-fold in the white adipose tissues of obese rats. These results suggest that the primary action of troglitazone may be to increase the number of small adipocytes in white adipose tissues, presumably via PPARgamma. The increased number of small adipocytes and the decreased number of large adipocytes in white adipose tissues of troglitazone-treated obese rats appear to be an important mechanism by which increased expression levels of TNF-alpha and higher levels of plasma lipids are normalized, leading to alleviation of insulin resistance.
Purpose of review
Despite a strong correlation between obesity and insulin resistance, 25% of severely obese (BMI >40) individuals are insulin sensitive. In this review, we will examine the factors in adipose tissue that distinguish the two groups, as well as reasons for believing the insulin-sensitive group will be less disease prone.
Obesity has been linked to the metabolic syndrome with an increase in visceral (intra-abdominal) compared to subcutaneous fat. Recent studies in which adipose tissue of insulin-sensitive and insulin-resistant patients with severe obesity were compared indicate that the insulin-resistant group is also distinguished by increases in oxidative stress and decreases in AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activity. In contrast, changes in the expression of genes for SIRT1, inflammatory cytokines, mitochondrial biogenesis and function, and the two α-isoforms of AMPK showed more depot variation. Studies of how these and other changes in adipose tissue respond to bariatric surgery are still in their infancy.
Available data suggest that increases in oxidative stress, decreases in AMPK activity and SIRT1 gene expression, depot-specific changes in inflammatory, mitochondrial and other genes distinguish adipose tissue of insulin resistant from insulin-sensitive individuals with severe obesity.
AMP-activated protein kinase; inflammation; insulin resistance; oxidative stress; SIRT1
Adipose tissue inflammation in obesity is a major factor leading to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.12/15 lipoxygenases (ALOX) play an important role in the generation of inflammatory mediators, insulin resistance and downstream immune activation in animal models of obesity. However, the expression and roles of 12/15ALOX isoforms, and their cellular sources in human subcutaneous (sc) and omental (om) fat in obesity is unknown. The objective of this study was to examine the gene expression and localization of ALOX isoforms and relevant downstream cytokines in subcutaneous (sc) and omental (om) adipose tissue in obese humans. Paired biopsies of sc and om fat were obtained during bariatric surgeries from 24 morbidly obese patients. Gene and protein expression for ALOX15a, ALOX15b and ALOX 12 were measured by real-time PCR and western blotting in adipocytes and stromal vascular fractions (SVF) from om and sc adipose tissue along with the mRNA expression of the downstream cytokines IL-12a, IL-12b, IL-6, IFNγ and the chemokine CXCL10. In a paired analysis, all ALOX isoforms, IL-6, IL-12a and CXCL10 were significantly higher in om vs. sc fat. ALOX15a mRNA and protein expression was found exclusively in om fat. All of the ALOX isoforms were expressed solely in the SVF. Further fractionation of the SVF in CD34+ and CD34- cells indicated that ALOX15a is predominantly expressed in the CD34+ fraction including vascular and progenitor cells, while ALOX15B is mostly expressed in the CD34- cells containing various leucocytes and myeloid cells. This result was confirmed by immunohistochemistry showing exclusive localization of ALOX15a in the om fat and predominantly in the vasculature and non-adipocyte cells. Our finding is identifying selective expression of ALOX15a in human om but not sc fat. This is a study showing a major inflammatory gene exclusively expressed in visceral fat in humans.
inflammation; 12/15 lipoxygenases; obesity; human; adipose tissue; vasculature; cytokines
Vaspin and omentin are recently described molecules that belong to the adipokine family and seem to be related to metabolic risk factors. The objectives of this study were twofold: to evaluate vaspin and omentin circulating levels and mRNA expression in subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissues in non-diabetic morbidly obese women; and to assess the relationship of vaspin and omentin with anthropometric and metabolic parameters, and other adipo/cytokines.
We analysed vaspin and omentin circulating levels in 71 women of European descent (40 morbidly obese [BMI ≥ 40 kg/m2] and 31 lean [BMI ≤ 25]). We assessed vaspin and omentin gene expression in paired samples of visceral and subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue from 46 women: 40 morbidly obese and 6 lean. We determined serum vaspin and plasma omentin levels with an Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay and adipose tissue mRNA expression by real time RT-PCR.
Serum vaspin levels in the morbidly obese were not significantly different from those in controls. They correlated inversely with levels of lipocalin 2 and interleukin 6. Vaspin mRNA expression was significantly higher in the morbidly obese, in both subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue.
Plasma omentin levels were significantly lower in the morbidly obese and they correlated inversely with glucidic metabolism parameters. Omentin circulating levels, then, correlated inversely with the metabolic syndrome (MS). Omentin expression in visceral adipose tissue was significantly lower in morbidly obese women than in controls.
The present study indicates that vaspin may have a compensatory role in the underlying inflammation of obesity. Decreased omentin circulating levels have a close association with MS in morbidly obese women.
circulating levels; morbid obesity; mRNA tissue expression; omentin; vaspin
We recently identified differences in abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) from insulin-resistant (IR) as compared to obesity-matched insulin sensitive individuals, including accumulation of small adipose cells, decreased expression of cell differentiation markers, and increased inflammatory activity. This study was initiated to see if these changes in SAT of IR individuals were present in omental visceral adipose tissue (VAT); in this instance, individuals were chosen to be IR but varied in degree of adiposity. We compared cell size distribution and genetic markers in SAT and VAT of IR individuals undergoing bariatric surgery.
Eleven obese/morbidly obese women were IR by the insulin suppression test. Adipose tissue surgical samples were fixed in osmium tetroxide for cell size analysis via Beckman Coulter Multisizer. Quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction for genes related to adipocyte differentiation and inflammation was performed.
While proportion of small cells and expression of adipocyte differentiation genes did not differ between depots, inflammatory genes were upregulated in VAT. Diameter of SAT large cells correlated highly with increasing proportion of small cells in both SAT and VAT (r=0.85, p= 0.001; r=0.72, p=0.01, respectively). No associations were observed between VAT large cells and cell size variables in either depot. The effect of body mass index (BMI) on any variables in both depots was negligible.
The major differential property of VAT of IR women is increased inflammatory activity, independent of BMI. The association of SAT adipocyte hypertrophy with hyperplasia in both depots suggests a primary role SAT may have in regulating regional fat storage.
Adipose cell size; Inflammation; Obesity; Visceral adipose tissue
Adipose tissue lipid storage and processing capacity can be a key factor for obesity-related metabolic disorders such as insulin resistance and diabetes. Lipid uptake is the first step to adipose tissue lipid storage. The aim of this study was to analyze the gene expression of factors involved in lipid uptake and processing in subcutaneous (SAT) and visceral (VAT) adipose tissue according to body mass index (BMI) and the degree of insulin resistance (IR).
Methods and Principal Findings
VLDL receptor (VLDLR), lipoprotein lipase (LPL), acylation stimulating protein (ASP), LDL receptor-related protein 1 (LRP1) and fatty acid binding protein 4 (FABP4) gene expression was measured in VAT and SAT from 28 morbidly obese patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus (T2DM) or high IR, 10 morbidly obese patients with low IR, 10 obese patients with low IR and 12 lean healthy controls. LPL, FABP4, LRP1 and ASP expression in VAT was higher in lean controls. In SAT, LPL and FABP4 expression were also higher in lean controls. BMI, plasma insulin levels and HOMA-IR correlated negatively with LPL expression in both VAT and SAT as well as with FABP4 expression in VAT. FABP4 gene expression in SAT correlated inversely with BMI and HOMA-IR. However, multiple regression analysis showed that BMI was the main variable contributing to LPL and FABP4 gene expression in both VAT and SAT.
Morbidly obese patients have a lower gene expression of factors related with lipid uptake and processing in comparison with healthy lean persons.
Inflammation and infiltration of immune cells in white adipose tissue have been implicated in the development of obesity-associated insulin resistance. Likewise, dysregulation of the fuel-sensing enzyme AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) has been proposed as a pathogenetic factor for these abnormalities based on both its links to insulin action and its anti-inflammatory effects. In this study, we examined the relationships between AMPK activity, the expression of multiple inflammatory markers in visceral (mesenteric and omental) and abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue, and whole-body insulin sensitivity in morbidly obese patients (BMI 48 ± 1.9 kg/m2) undergoing gastric bypass surgery. AMPK activity was assessed by western-blots (P-AMPK/T-AMPK) and mRNA levels of various markers of inflammation by qRT-PCR. Patients were stratified as insulin sensitive obese or insulin resistant obese according to their HOMA-IR values. The results indicate that AMPK activity is lower in visceral than in subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue of these patients and that this is associated with an increased expression of multiple inflammatory genes. They also revealed that AMPK activity is lower in adipose tissue of obese patients who are insulin resistant (HOMA-IR > 2.3) than in BMI-matched insulin sensitive subjects. Furthermore, this difference was evident in all three fat depots. In conclusion, the data suggest that there are close links between reduced AMPK activity and inflammation in white adipose tissue, and whole-body insulin resistance in obese humans. Whether adipose tissue AMPK dysregulation is a causal factor for the development of the inflammation and insulin resistance remains to be determined.
AMP-activated protein kinase; adipose tissue; humans; insulin sensitive obese; inflammation; insulin resistance
Obesity is a risk factor for metabolic diseases. Intramuscular lipid accumulation of ceramides, diacylglycerols, and long chain acyl-CoA is responsible for the induction of insulin resistance. These lipids are probably implicated in obesity-associated insulin resistance not only in skeletal muscle but also in fat tissue. Only few data are available about ceramide content in human subcutaneous adipose tissue. However, there are no data on DAG and LCACoA content in adipose tissue. The aim of our study was to measure the lipids content in human SAT and epicardial adipose tissue we sought to determine the bioactive lipids content by LC/MS/MS in fat tissue from lean non-diabetic, obese non-diabetic, and obese diabetic subjects and test whether the lipids correlate with HOMA-IR. We found, that total content of measured lipids was markedly higher in OND and OD subjects in both types of fat tissue (for all p < 0.001) as compared to LND group. In SAT we found positive correlation between HOMA-IR and C16:0-Cer (r = 0.79, p < 0.001) and between HOMA-IR and C16:0/18:2 DAG (r = 0.56, p < 0.001). In EAT we found a strong correlation between C16:0-CoA content and HOMA-IR (r = 0.73, p < 0.001). The study showed that in obese and obese diabetic patients, bioactive lipids content is greater in subcutaneous and epicardial fat tissue and the particular lipids content positively correlates with HOMA-IR.
Obesity; Diabetes; Ceramide; Diacylglycerols; Long-chain acyl-CoA
Haptoglobin (Hp) is an inflammatory and adiposity marker, its expression during obesity being specifically induced in the white adipose tissue (WAT). We previously reported that when challenged with a high fat diet (HFD) Hp−/− mice are partially protected from the onset of insulin resistance and hepatosteatosis. The aim of the present study was to get further insights into Hp function in WAT. To this end, we performed histological and gene expression analysis of the Hp−/− WAT, both in standard and obesity conditions, and investigated how Hp deficiency impacts adipogenesis and WAT development.
The average size and percentage of very large adipocytes were respectively smaller and reduced in HFD Hp−/− mice as compared with HFD WT. The expression of perilipin, HSL and angiogenesis related markers were increased in HFD Hp−/− mice. Lean adult Hp−/− showed significantly larger adipocytes and lower subcutaneous WAT expression of aP2 and LPL with respect to WT. Hp−/− young mice (P30) were characterized by larger adipocyte size and lower expression of adipocyte and adipogenesis markers. Comparison of adipocyte size distribution between young and adult mice revealed attenuated changes in Hp−/− mice compared with WT. Mouse embryonic fibroblasts from Hp−/− mice were less capable of accumulating triglycerides and exhibited lower expression of PPARγ, aP2, FAS, LPL and Leptin.
In conclusion, Hp deficiency tends to blunt the effect of age and diet on the size of adipocytes, which show less susceptibility to develop hypertrophy during obesity and a reduced adipogenic/hyperplastic potential during youth. In addition, Hp deficiency impacts negatively on adipogenesis.
adipogenesis; development; haptoglobin; high fat diet; size
Animal studies have revealed the association between stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 (SCD1) and obesity and insulin resistance. However, only a few studies have been undertaken in humans. We studied SCD1 in visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) from morbidly obese patients and their association with insulin resistance, sterol regulatory element binding protein-1 (SREBP-1) and ATPase p97, proteins involved in SCD1 synthesis and degradation. The insulin resistance was calculated in 40 morbidly obese patients and 11 overweight controls. Measurements were made of VAT and SAT SCD1, SREBP-1 and ATPase p97 mRNA expression and protein levels. VAT and SAT SCD1 mRNA expression levels in the morbidly obese patients were significantly lower than in the controls (P = 0.006), whereas SCD1 protein levels were significantly higher (P < 0.001). In the morbidly obese patients, the VAT SCD1 protein levels were decreased in patients with higher insulin resistance (P = 0.007). However, SAT SCD1 protein levels were increased in morbidly obese patients with higher insulin resistance (P < 0.05). Multiple linear regressions in the morbidly obese patients showed that the variable associated with the SCD1 protein levels in VAT was insulin resistance, and the variables associated with SCD1 protein levels in SAT were body mass index (BMI) and ATPase p97. In conclusion, these data suggest that the regulation of SCD1 is altered in individuals with morbid obesity and that the SCD1 protein has a different regulation in the two adipose tissues, as well as being closely linked to the degree of insulin resistance.
In obesity, impaired adipose tissue function may promote secondary disease through ectopic lipid accumulation and excess release of adipokines, resulting in systemic low-grade inflammation, insulin resistance and organ dysfunction. However, several of the genes regulating adipose tissue function in obesity are yet to be identified.
In order to identify novel candidate genes that may regulate adipose tissue function, we analyzed global gene expression in abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue before and one year after bariatric surgery (biliopancreatic diversion with duodenal switch, BPD/DS) (n = 16). Adipose tissue from lean healthy individuals was also analyzed (n = 13). Two different microarray platforms (AB 1700 and Illumina) were used to measure the differential gene expression, and the results were further validated by qPCR. Surgery reduced BMI from 53.3 to 33.1 kg/m2. The majority of differentially expressed genes were down-regulated after profound fat loss, including transcription factors involved in stress response, inflammation, and immune cell function (e.g., FOS, JUN, ETS, C/EBPB, C/EBPD). Interestingly, a distinct set of genes was up-regulated after fat loss, including homeobox transcription factors (IRX3, IRX5, HOXA5, HOXA9, HOXB5, HOXC6, EMX2, PRRX1) and extracellular matrix structural proteins (COL1A1, COL1A2, COL3A1, COL5A1, COL6A3).
The data demonstrate a marked switch of transcription factors in adipose tissue after profound fat loss, providing new molecular insight into a dichotomy between stress response and metabolically favorable tissue development. Our findings implicate homeobox transcription factors as important regulators of adipose tissue function.
In obesity, the vascular complication is a result of insulin resistance, such as decreased capillary recruitment in skeletal muscle from endothelial insulin resistance. Recent progress in the study of obesity-associated inflammation suggests that vasculature dysfunction occurs in adipose tissue before insulin resistance. In obesity, capillary density and function fail to meet the demand of adipose tissue growth. The failure leads to microcirculation dysfunction from an impaired blood perfusion, which results in a local hypoxia response in adipose tissue. The hypoxia response in adipocytes and macrophages is a new cellular basis for the chronic inflammation. The obesity-associated inflammation has both positive and negative effects in the body. At the early stage, it amplifies the hypoxia signal to stimulate vasculature remodeling locally, and promotes systemic energy expenditure against obesity. At the late stage, it causes adipose tissue dysfunction for insulin resistance. These points suggest that in obesity, adipose tissue vascularization controls chronic inflammation and influences systemic insulin sensitivity.
Obesity; Hypoxia; Capillary; Angiogenesis; Energy expenditure; Insulin resistance; Adipose tissue
Protein-tyrosine phosphatases (PTPases) have an essential role in the regulation of the steady-state phosphorylation of the insulin receptor and other proteins in the insulin signalling pathway. To examine whether increased PTPase activity is associated with adipose tissue insulin resistance in human obesity we measured PTPase enzyme activity towards the insulin receptor in homogenates of subcutaneous adipose tissue from a series of six lean and six nondiabetic, obese (body mass index > 30) subjects. The obese subjects had a mean 1.74-fold increase in PTPase activity (P < 0.0001) with a striking positive correlation by linear regression analysis between PTPase activity and body mass index among all of the samples (R = 0.918; P < 0.0001). The abundance of three candidate insulin receptor PTPases in adipose tissue was also estimated by immunoblot analysis. The most prominent increase was a 2.03-fold rise in the transmembrane PTPase LAR (P < 0.001). Of the three PTPase examined, only immunodepletion of LAR protein from the homogenates with neutralizing antibodies resulted in normalization of the PTPase activity towards the insulin receptor, demonstrating that the increase in LAR was responsible for the enhanced PTPase activity in the adipose tissue from obese subjects. These studies suggest that increased PTPase activity towards the insulin receptor is a pathogenetic factor in the insulin resistance of adipose tissue in human obesity and provide evidence for a potential role of the LAR PTPase in the regulation of insulin signalling in disease states.
Obesity is associated with a low-grade chronic inflammation state. As a consequence, adipose tissue expresses pro-inflammatory cytokines that propagate inflammatory responses systemically elsewhere, promoting whole-body insulin resistance and consequential islet β-cell exhaustation. Thus, insulin resistance is considered the early stage of type 2 diabetes. However, there is evidence of obese individuals that never develop diabetes indicating that the mechanisms governing the association between the increase of inflammatory factors and type 2 diabetes are much more complex and deserve further investigation. We studied for the first time the differences in insulin signalling and inflammatory pathways in blood and visceral adipose tissue (VAT) of 20 lean healthy donors and 40 equal morbidly obese (MO) patients classified in high insulin resistance (high IR) degree and diabetes state. We studied the changes in proinflammatory markers and lipid content from serum; macrophage infiltration, mRNA expression of inflammatory cytokines and transcription factors, activation of kinases involved in inflammation and expression of insulin signalling molecules in VAT. VAT comparison of these experimental groups revealed that type 2 diabetic-MO subjects exhibit the same pro-inflammatory profile than the high IR-MO patients, characterized by elevated levels of IL-1β, IL-6, TNFα, JNK1/2, ERK1/2, STAT3 and NFκB. Our work rules out the assumption that the inflammation should be increased in obese people with type 2 diabetes compared to high IR obese. These findings indicate that some mechanisms, other than systemic and VAT inflammation must be involved in the development of type 2 diabetes in obesity.
Insulin resistance and other features of the metabolic syndrome have been causally linked to adipose tissue macrophages (ATMs) in mice with diet-induced obesity. We aimed to characterize macrophage phenotype and function in human subcutaneous and omental adipose tissue in relation to insulin resistance in obesity.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
Adipose tissue was obtained from lean and obese women undergoing bariatric surgery. Metabolic markers were measured in fasting serum and ATMs characterized by immunohistology, flow cytometry, and tissue culture studies.
ATMs comprised CD11c+CD206+ cells in “crown” aggregates and solitary CD11c−CD206+ cells at adipocyte junctions. In obese women, CD11c+ ATM density was greater in subcutaneous than omental adipose tissue and correlated with markers of insulin resistance. CD11c+ ATMs were distinguished by high expression of integrins and antigen presentation molecules; interleukin (IL)-1β, -6, -8, and -10; tumor necrosis factor-α; and CC chemokine ligand-3, indicative of an activated, proinflammatory state. In addition, CD11c+ ATMs were enriched for mitochondria and for RNA transcripts encoding mitochondrial, proteasomal, and lysosomal proteins, fatty acid metabolism enzymes, and T-cell chemoattractants, whereas CD11c− ATMs were enriched for transcripts involved in tissue maintenance and repair. Tissue culture medium conditioned by CD11c+ ATMs, but not CD11c− ATMs or other stromovascular cells, impaired insulin-stimulated glucose uptake by human adipocytes.
These findings identify proinflammatory CD11c+ ATMs as markers of insulin resistance in human obesity. In addition, the machinery of CD11c+ ATMs indicates they metabolize lipid and may initiate adaptive immune responses.
It is well known that the adult human thymus degenerates into fat tissue; however, it has never been considered as a potential source of angiogenic factors. Recently, we have described that this fat (TAT) produces angiogenic factors and induces human endothelial cell proliferation and migration, indicating its potential angiogenic properties.
Adult thymus fat and subcutaneous adipose tissue specimens were obtained from 28 patients undergoing cardiac surgery, making this tissue readily available as a prime source of adipose tissue. We focused our investigation on determining VEGF gene expression and characterizing the different genes, mediators of inflammation and adipogenesis, and which are known to play a relevant role in angiogenesis regulation.
We found that VEGF-A was the isoform most expressed in TAT. This expression was accompanied by an upregulation of HIF-1α, COX-2 and HO-1 proteins, and by increased HIF-1 DNA binding activity, compared to SAT. Furthermore, we observed that TAT contains a high percentage of mature adipocytes, 0.25% of macrophage cells, 15% of endothelial cells and a very low percentage of thymocyte cells, suggesting the cellular variability of TAT, which could explain the differences in gene expression observed in TAT. Subsequently, we showed that the expression of genes known as adipogenic mediators, including PPARγ1/γ2, FABP-4 and adiponectin was similar in both TAT and SAT. Moreover the expression of these latter genes presented a significantly positive correlation with VEGF, suggesting the potential association between VEGF and the generation of adipose tissue in adult thymus.
Here we suggest that this fat has a potential angiogenic function related to ongoing adipogenesis, which substitutes immune functions within the adult thymus. The expression of VEGF seems to be associated with COX-2, HO-1 and adipogenesis related genes, suggesting the importance that this new fat has acquired in research in relation to adipogenesis and angiogenesis.
Vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) is classically viewed as a key factor in angiogenesis and tissue remodeling. However, recent evidence suggests a potential role of this growth factor in the control of energy metabolism and adipose tissue function. In this regard, we and others have described the effects of the up and downregulation of VEGF-A in adipose tissue on the control of energy homeostasis. VEGF-A overexpression protects against diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance. The observation that VEGF-A overexpression leads to an increase in brown adipose tissue (BAT) thermogenesis and also promotes a “BAT-like” phenotype in white adipose tissue depots is of particular relevance for the understanding of the mechanisms underlying obesity development. In addition, VEGF-A may not only have pro-inflammatory but also anti-inflammatory properties, with a chemotactic activity specific for M2 anti-inflammatory macrophages. This new scientific evidence highlights the importance that VEGF-A actions on metabolism could have on the design of new treatments for obesity, insulin resistance and obesity-related disorders.
VEGF-A; adipose tissue; insulin resistance; inflammation; obesity
Obesity results from an imbalance between food intake and energy expenditure, which leads to an excess of adipose tissue. The excess of adipose tissue and adipocyte dysfunction associated with obesity are linked to the abnormal regulation of adipogenesis. The objective of this study was to analyze the expression profile of cell-cycle- and lipid-metabolism-related genes of adipose tissue in morbid obesity.
We used a custom-made focused cDNA microarray to determine the adipose tissue mRNA expression profile. Gene expression of subcutaneous abdominal fat samples from 15 morbidly obese women was compared with subcutaneous fat samples from 10 nonobese control patients. The findings were validated in an independent population of 31 obese women and 9 obese men and in an animal model of obesity (Lepob/ob mice) by real-time RT-PCR.
Microarray analysis revealed that transcription factors that regulate the first stages of adipocyte differentiation, such as CCAAT/enhancer binding protein beta (C/EBPβ) and JUN, were upregulated in the adipose tissues of morbidly obese patients. The expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ), a transcription factor which controls lipid metabolism and the final steps of preadipocyte conversion into mature adipocytes, was downregulated. The expression of three cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors that regulate clonal expansion and postmitotic growth arrest during adipocyte differentiation was also altered in obese subjects: p18 and p27 were downregulated, and p21 was upregulated. Angiopoietin-like 4 (ANGPTL4), which regulates angiogenesis, lipid and glucose metabolism and it is know to increase dramatically in the early stages of adipocyte differentiation, was upregulated. The expression of C/EBPβ, p18, p21, JUN, and ANGPTL4 presented similar alterations in subcutaneous adipose tissue of Lepob/ob mice.
Our microarray gene profiling study revealed that the expression of genes involved in adipogenesis is profoundly altered in the subcutaneous adipose tissue of morbidly obese subjects. This expression pattern is consistent with an immature adipocyte phenotype that could reflect the expansion of the adipose tissue during obesity.
Adipose tissue secrets adipokines and fatty acids, which may contribute to obesity-associated vascular dysfunction and cardiovascular risk. This study investigated which factors are responsible for the synergistic effect of adipokine and oleic acid- (OA-) induced proliferation of human vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMC). Adipocyte-conditioned medium (CM) from human adipocytes induces proliferation of VSMC in correlation to its vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) content. CM increases VEGF-receptor (VEGF-R) 1 and 2 expression and VEGF secretion of VSMC, while OA only stimulates VEGF secretion. VEGF neutralization abrogates CM- and OA-induced proliferation and considerably reduces proliferation induced by CM and OA in combination. VEGF release is higher from visceral adipose tissue (VAT) of obese subjects compared to subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) and VAT from lean controls. Furthermore, VEGF release from VAT correlates with its proliferative effect. Perivascular adipose tissue (PAT) from type 2 diabetic patients releases significantly higher amounts of VEGF and induces stronger proliferation of VSMC as compared to SAT and SAT/PAT of nondiabetics. In conclusion, VEGF is mediating CM-induced proliferation of VSMC. As this adipokine is released in high amounts from VAT of obese patients and PAT of diabetic patients, VEGF might link adipose tissue inflammation to increased VSMC proliferation.
A previous study reported the increased expression of the cytokine TNF in the adipose tissue of genetically obese rodents. To examine this paradigm in humans, we studied TNF expression in lean, obese, and reduced-obese human subjects. TNF mRNA was demonstrated in human adipocytes and adipose tissue by Northern blotting and PCR. TNF protein was quantitated by Western blotting and ELISA in both adipose tissue and the medium surrounding adipose tissue. Using quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR), TNF mRNA levels were examined in the adipose tissue of 39 nondiabetic subjects, spanning a broad range of body mass index (BMI). There was a significant increase in adipose TNF mRNA levels with increasing adiposity. There was a significant correlation between TNF mRNA and percent body fat (r = 0.46, P < 0.05, n = 23). TNF mRNA tended to decrease in very obese subjects, but when subjects with a BMI > 45 kg/m2 were excluded, there was a significant correlation between TNF mRNA and BMI (r = 0.37, P < 0.05, n = 32). In addition, there was a significant decrease in adipose TNF with weight loss. In 11 obese subjects who lost between 14 and 66 kg (mean 34.7 kg, or 26.6% of initial weight), TNF mRNA levels decreased to 58% of initial levels after weight loss (P < 0.005), and TNF protein decreased to 46% of initial levels (P < 0.02). TNF is known to inhibit LPL activity. When fasting adipose LPL activity was measured in these subjects, there was a significant inverse relationship between TNF expression and LPL activity (r = -0.39, P < 0.02, n = 39). With weight loss, LPL activity increased to 411% of initial levels. However, the magnitude of the increase in LPL did not correlate with the decrease in TNF. Thus, TNF is expressed in human adipocytes. TNF is elevated in most obese subjects and is decreased by weight loss. In addition, there is an inverse relationship between TNF and LPL expression. These data suggest that endogenous TNF expression in adipose tissue may help limit obesity in some subjects, perhaps by increasing insulin resistance and decreasing LPL.