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.
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.
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
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
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
Adipose tissue expresses all components of the renin-angiotensin system including angiotensinogen (AGT). Recent studies have highlighted a potential role of AGT in adipose tissue function and homeostasis. However, some controversies surround the regulatory mechanisms of AGT in obese adipose tissue. In this context, we here demonstrated that the AGT messenger RNA (mRNA) level in human subcutaneous adipose tissue was significantly reduced in obese subjects as compared with nonobese subjects. Adipose tissue AGT mRNA level in obese mice was also lower as compared with their lean littermates; however, the hepatic AGT mRNA level remained unchanged. When 3T3-L1 adipocytes were cultured for a long period, the adipocytes became hypertrophic with a marked increase in the production of reactive oxygen species. Expression and secretion of AGT continued to decrease during the course of adipocyte hypertrophy. Treatment of the 3T3-L1 and primary adipocytes with reactive oxygen species (hydrogen peroxide) or tumor necrosis factor α caused a significant decrease in the expression and secretion of AGT. On the other hand, treatment with the antioxidant N-acetyl cysteine suppressed the decrease in the expression and secretion of AGT in the hypertrophied 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Finally, treatment of obese db/db mice with N-acetyl cysteine augmented the expression of AGT in the adipose tissue, but not in the liver. The present study demonstrates for the first time that oxidative stress dysregulates AGT in obese adipose tissue, providing a novel insight into the adipose tissue–specific interaction between the regulation of AGT and oxidative stress in the pathophysiology of obesity.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Adipose tissue expands in response to excess caloric intake, but individuals prone to deposit visceral (VIS) instead of subcutaneous (SQ) adipose tissue have higher risk of metabolic disease. The role of angiogenesis in the expandability of human adipose tissue depots is unknown. The objective of this study was to measure angiogenesis in VIS and SQ adipose tissue, and to establish whether there is a relationship between obesity, metabolic status and the angiogenic properties of these depots.
Methods and results
Angiogenic capacity was determined by quantifying capillary branch formation from human adipose tissue explants embedded in Matrigel, and capillary density was assessed by immunohistochemistry. SQ adipose tissue had a greater angiogenic capacity compared to VIS, even after normalization to its higher initial capillary density. Gene array analyses revealed significant differences in expression of angiogenic genes between depots, including an increased SQ expression of ANGPTL4, which is pro-angiogenic in an adipose tissue context. SQ capillary density and angiogenic capacity decreased with morbid obesity, and SQ, but not VIS, adipose tissue angiogenic capacity negatively correlated with insulin sensitivity.
These data imply that SQ adipose tissue has a higher capacity to expand its capillary network compared to VIS, but this capacity decreases with morbid obesity. The decrease correlates with insulin resistance, suggesting that impairment of SQ adipose tissue angiogenesis may contribute to metabolic disease pathogenesis.
vasculature; hypoxia; microcirculation; obesity; adipokine
Hyperinsulinemia, which often coexists with obesity and type 2 diabetes, is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease and thought to promote hypertension through the sympathetic effects of insulin. Here, we examined the effect of insulin on regional sympathetic nerve activity (SNA) in obesity.
Glucose and insulin tolerance tests were performed to examine insulin sensitivity in agouti obese mice. We used also multifiber recording to compare the regional SNA response to ICV insulin between lean and agouti obese mice.
Agouti obese mice have significantly elevated levels of blood glucose and plasma insulin associated with glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. In lean mice, ICV administration of insulin (20 and 100 μU) caused a dose-dependent increase in SNA subserving hindlimb, kidney and brown adipose tissue (BAT). Of note, the regional SNA responses to insulin were differentially altered in agouti obese mice. While lumbar SNA response to insulin was intact in the obese mice, renal and BAT sympathetic activation to insulin were significantly attenuated in these agouti obese mice. Finally, we assessed the role of phosphoinositol-3 kinase (PI3K) signaling pathway in mediating sympathetic activation to insulin in obesity. Notably, ICV pre-treatment with a PI3K inhibitor (LY294002) blocked the increase in lumbar SNA induced by ICV insulin in lean and agouti obese mice.
Our data suggest a differential regulation by insulin of sympathetic outflow to peripheral tissues in obesity. Our findings also demonstrate the importance of PI3K in lumbar sympathetic activation to insulin in obesity.
Sympathetic nervous system; obesity; insulin resistance; PI3K
The regulation of ob gene expression in abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue was investigated using a reverse transcription-competitive PCR method to quantify the mRNA level of leptin. Leptin mRNA level was highly correlated with the body mass index of 26 subjects (12 lean, 7 non-insulin-dependent diabetic, and 7 obese patients). The effect of fasting on ob gene expression was investigated in 10 subjects maintained on a hypocaloric diet (1045 KJ/d) for 5 d. While their metabolic parameters significantly changed (decrease in insulinemia, glycemia, and resting metabolic rate and increase in plasma ketone bodies), the caloric restriction did not modify the leptin mRNA level in the adipose tissue. To verify whether insulin regulates ob gene expression, six lean subjects underwent a 3-h euglycemic hyperinsulinemic (846 +/- 138 pmol/liter) clamp. Leptin and Glut 4 mRNA levels were quantified in adipose tissue biopsies taken before and at the end of the clamp. Insulin infusion produced a significant threefold increase in Glut 4 mRNA while leptin mRNA was not affected. It is concluded that ob gene expression is not acutely regulated by insulin or by metabolic factors related to fasting in human abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue.
FABP4 is predominantly expressed in adipose tissue, and its circulating levels are linked with obesity and a poor atherogenic profile.
In patients with a wide BMI range, we analyze FABP4 expression in adipose and hepatic tissues in the settings of obesity and insulin resistance. Associations between FABP4 expression in adipose tissue and the FABP4 plasma level as well as the main adipogenic and lipolytic genes expressed in adipose tissue were also analyzed.
The expression of several lipogenic, lipolytic, PPAR family and FABP family genes was analyzed by real time PCR. FABP4 protein expression in total adipose tissues and its fractions were determined by western blot.
In obesity FABP4 expression was down-regulated (at both mRNA and protein levels), with its levels mainly predicted by ATGL and inversely by the HOMA-IR index. The BMI appeared as the only determinant of the FABP4 variation in both adipose tissue depots. FABP4 plasma levels showed a significant progressive increase according to BMI but no association was detected between FABP4 circulating levels and SAT or VAT FABP4 gene expression. The gene expression of FABP1, FABP4 and FABP5 in hepatic tissue was significantly higher in tissue from the obese IR patients compared to the non-IR group.
The inverse pattern in FABP4 expression between adipose and hepatic tissue observed in morbid obese patients, regarding the IR context, suggests that both tissues may act in a balanced manner. These differences may help us to understand the discrepancies between circulating plasma levels and adipose tissue expression in obesity.
Obesity is a strong risk factor for resistance to insulin-mediated glucose disposal, a precursor of type 2 diabetes and other disorders.
To identify molecular pathways that may cause such obesity-associated insulin resistance in human subjects, we exploited the fact that not all obese individuals are prone to insulin resistance. Thus the degree of obesity as a variable was removed by studying morbidly obese human subjects of similar BMI values who are insulin-sensitive versus insulin-resistant.
University Medical Center, United States
Combining gene expression profiling with computational approaches, we determined the global gene expression signatures of omental and subcutaneous adipose tissue samples obtained from similarly obese patients undergoing gastric bypass surgery.
Gene sets related to chemokine activity and chemokine receptor-binding were identified as most highly expressed in the omental tissue from insulin-resistant compared to insulin sensitive subjects, independent of BMI. These upregulated genes included chemokines CCL2, CCL3, CCL4, CCL18 and IL8/CXCL8, and were not differentially expressed in subcutaneous adipose tissues between the two groups of subjects. Strikingly, insulin resistance, but not BMI, was associated with increased macrophage infiltration in the omental adipose tissue, as was adipocyte size, in these morbidly obese subjects.
Our findings demonstrate that inflammation of omental adipose tissue is strongly associated with insulin resistance in human obesity even in subjects with similar BMI values. Increased omental fat mass may contribute to the amplified inflammatory response observed in this population.
abdominal adipose tissue; insulin resistance; chemokines; inflammation; macrophages
Obesity and metabolic syndrome results from a complex interaction between genetic and environmental factors. In addition to brain-regulated processes, recent genome wide association studies have indicated that genes highly expressed in adipose tissue affect the distribution and function of fat and thus contribute to obesity. Using a stratified transcriptome gene enrichment approach we attempted to identify adipose tissue-specific obesity genes in the unique polygenic Fat (F) mouse strain generated by selective breeding over 60 generations for divergent adiposity from a comparator Lean (L) strain.
To enrich for adipose tissue obesity genes a ‘snap-shot’ pooled-sample transcriptome comparison of key fat depots and non adipose tissues (muscle, liver, kidney) was performed. Known obesity quantitative trait loci (QTL) information for the model allowed us to further filter genes for increased likelihood of being causal or secondary for obesity. This successfully identified several genes previously linked to obesity (C1qr1, and Np3r) as positional QTL candidate genes elevated specifically in F line adipose tissue. A number of novel obesity candidate genes were also identified (Thbs1, Ppp1r3d, Tmepai, Trp53inp2, Ttc7b, Tuba1a, Fgf13, Fmr) that have inferred roles in fat cell function. Quantitative microarray analysis was then applied to the most phenotypically divergent adipose depot after exaggerating F and L strain differences with chronic high fat feeding which revealed a distinct gene expression profile of line, fat depot and diet-responsive inflammatory, angiogenic and metabolic pathways. Selected candidate genes Npr3 and Thbs1, as well as Gys2, a non-QTL gene that otherwise passed our enrichment criteria were characterised, revealing novel functional effects consistent with a contribution to obesity.
A focussed candidate gene enrichment strategy in the unique F and L model has identified novel adipose tissue-enriched genes contributing to obesity.