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1.  Six weeks of voluntary wheel running modulates inflammatory protein (MCP-1, IL-6, and IL-10) and DAMP (Hsp72) responses to acute stress in white adipose tissue of lean rats 
To prime local tissues for dealing with potential infection or injury, exposure to an acute, intense stressor evokes increases in circulating and local tissue inflammatory proteins. Regular physical activity facilitates stress-evoked innate reactivity and modulates the expression of inflammatory proteins in immuno-metabolic tissues such as white adipose tissue (WAT). The impact of regular physical activity on stress-evoked inflammatory protein expression in WAT, however, remains unclear. To investigate this question, lean male F344 rats (150–175 g) were allowed voluntary access to a running wheel for 6 weeks followed by exposure to an acute stressor (100, 1.5 mA-5 s inescapable tail shocks). Using ELISAs, corticosterone, heat shock protein 72 (Hsp72), macrophage chemoattractant protein (MCP-1), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, and IL-10 concentrations were measured in plasma and subcutaneous, intraperitoneal (epididymal and retroperitoneal WAT depots) and visceral (omental and mesenteric WAT depots) WAT compartments. Acute stress increased plasma concentrations of all proteins except TNF-α and, depending upon the compartment examined, WAT concentrations of MCP-1, IL-1β, IL-6, and IL-10. Exercise ubiquitously increased IL-1β within WAT, potentiated stress-evoked Hsp72 in plasma and WAT, and differentially increased stress-evoked MCP-1, IL-6, and IL-10 within WAT. These data suggest: (a) inflammatory proteins in non-obese WAT may serve compartment-specific immune and metabolic roles important to the acute stress response and; (b) voluntary habitual exercise may optimize stress-induced augmentation of innate immune function through increases in stress-evoked Hsp72, MCP-1, IL-6, and IL-10 and decreases in IL-1β/IL10 and TNF-α/IL10 ratios within white adipose tissue.
PMCID: PMC4301739  PMID: 24246250
Innate immunity; Acute stress; Visceral adipose tissue; Sterile inflammation; Cytokine; Interleukin-1beta; Interleukin-6; Interleukin-10; Macrophage chemoattractant protein-1; Heat shock protein 72
2.  C/EBPα and the Corepressors CtBP1 and CtBP2 Regulate Repression of Select Visceral White Adipose Genes during Induction of the Brown Phenotype in White Adipocytes by Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor γ Agonists▿ † 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2009;29(17):4714-4728.
White adipose tissue (WAT) stores energy in the form of triglycerides, whereas brown tissue (BAT) expends energy, primarily by oxidizing lipids. WAT also secretes many cytokines and acute-phase proteins that contribute to insulin resistance in obese subjects. In this study, we have investigated the mechanisms by which activation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) with synthetic agonists induces a brown phenotype in white adipocytes in vivo and in vitro. We demonstrate that this phenotypic conversion is characterized by repression of a set of white fat genes (“visceral white”), including the resistin, angiotensinogen, and chemerin genes, in addition to induction of brown-specific genes, such as Ucp-1. Importantly, the level of expression of the “visceral white” genes is high in mesenteric and gonadal WAT depots but low in the subcutaneous WAT depot and in BAT. Mutation of critical amino acids within helix 7 of the ligand-binding domain of PPARγ prevents inhibition of visceral white gene expression by the synthetic agonists and therefore shows a direct role for PPARγ in the repression process. Inhibition of the white adipocyte genes also depends on the expression of C/EBPα and the corepressors, carboxy-terminal binding proteins 1 and 2 (CtBP1/2). The data further show that repression of resistin and angiotensinogen expression involves recruitment of CtBP1/2, directed by C/EBPα, to the minimal promoter of the corresponding genes in response to the PPARγ ligand. Developing strategies to enhance the brown phenotype in white adipocytes while reducing secretion of stress-related cytokines from visceral WAT is a means to combat obesity-associated disorders.
PMCID: PMC2725706  PMID: 19564408
3.  Intra-Abdominal Fat Depots Represent Distinct Immunomodulatory Microenvironments: A Murine Model 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e66477.
White adipose tissue (WAT) is a multi-faceted endocrine organ involved in energy storage, metabolism, immune function and disease pathogenesis. In contrast to subcutaneous fat, visceral fat (V-WAT) has been associated with numerous diseases and metabolic disorders, indicating specific functions related to anatomical location. Although visceral depots are often used interchangeably in V-WAT-associated disease studies, there has been a recent subdivision of V-WAT into “true visceral” and non-visceral intra-abdominal compartments. These were associated with distinct physiological roles, illustrating a need for depot-specific information. Here, we use FACS analysis to comparatively characterize the leukocyte and progenitor populations in the stromal vascular fraction (SVF) of peritoneal serous fluid (PSF), parametrial (pmWAT), retroperitoneal (rpWAT), and omental (omWAT) adipose tissue from seven-month old C57BL/6 female mice. We found significant differences in SVF composition between all four microenvironments. PSF SVF was comprised almost entirely of CD45+ leukocytes (>99%), while omWAT contained less, but still almost two-fold more leukocytes than pmWAT and rpWAT (75%, 38% and 38% respectively; p<0.01). PmWAT was composed primarily of macrophages, whereas rpWAT more closely resembled omWAT, denoted by high levels of B1 B-cell and monocyte populations. Further, omWAT harbored significantly higher proportions of T-cells than the other tissues, consistent with its role as a secondary lymphoid organ. These SVF changes were also reflected in the gene expression profiles of the respective tissues. Thus, intra-abdominal fat pads represent independent immunomodulatory microenvironments and should be evaluated as distinct entities with unique contributions to physiological and pathological processes.
PMCID: PMC3680422  PMID: 23776677
4.  Essential Role for miR-196a in Brown Adipogenesis of White Fat Progenitor Cells 
PLoS Biology  2012;10(4):e1001314.
Brown adipocytes can differentiate from white fat progenitor cells in mice exposed to cold or β3-adrenergic stimulation, and this process is regulated by a microRNA that regulates the expression of Hoxc8, a master regulator of brown adipogenesis.
The recent discovery of functional brown adipocytes in adult humans illuminates the potential of these cells in the treatment of obesity and its associated diseases. In rodents, brown adipocyte-like cells are known to be recruited in white adipose tissue (WAT) by cold exposure or β-adrenergic stimulation, but the molecular machinery underlying this phenomenon is not fully understood. Here, we show that inducible brown adipogenesis is mediated by the microRNA miR-196a. We found that miR-196a suppresses the expression of the white-fat gene Hoxc8 post-transcriptionally during the brown adipogenesis of white fat progenitor cells. In mice, miR-196a is induced in the WAT-progenitor cells after cold exposure or β-adrenergic stimulation. The fat-specific forced expression of miR-196a in mice induces the recruitment of brown adipocyte-like cells in WAT. The miR-196a transgenic mice exhibit enhanced energy expenditure and resistance to obesity, indicating the induced brown adipocyte-like cells are metabolically functional. Mechanistically, Hoxc8 targets and represses C/EBPβ, a master switch of brown-fat gene program, in cooperation with histone deacetylase 3 (HDAC3) through the C/EBPβ 3′ regulatory sequence. Thus, miR-196a induces functional brown adipocytes in WAT through the suppression of Hoxc8, which functions as a gatekeeper of the inducible brown adipogenesis. The miR-196a-Hoxc8-C/EBPβ signaling pathway may be a therapeutic target for inducing brown adipogenesis to combat obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Author Summary
Obesity is caused by the accumulation of surplus energy in a fatty tissue called white adipose tissue (WAT) and can lead to important health problems such as diabetes. Mammals additionally possess brown adipose tissue (BAT), which serves to generate body heat to stabilize body temperature under exposure to cold, and is abundant in hibernating animals and human neonates. In performing its function BAT consumes energy, thereby reducing WAT fat accumulation. Recent studies have shown that exposure to a cold environment stimulates the partial conversion of WAT to BAT in mice, and given that human adults have a limited amount of BAT, such a conversion has the potential to afford a novel method of obesity control. Here, we analyze the molecular mechanism of this conversion using genetically manipulated mice and cells isolated from human adipose tissue. We find that the expression levels of a microRNA, miR-196a, positively correlate with the conversion of WAT to BAT under cold exposure conditions. We show that forced expression of miR-196a in mouse adipose tissue increases BAT content and energy expenditure, thereby rendering the animals resistant to obesity and diabetes. Mechanistically, we observe that miR-196a acts by inhibiting the expression of the homeotic gene Hoxc8, a repressor of brown adipogenesis. These findings introduce the therapeutic possibility of using microRNAs to control obesity and its associated diseases in humans.
PMCID: PMC3335871  PMID: 22545021
5.  Fibrosis in Human Adipose Tissue: Composition, Distribution, and Link With Lipid Metabolism and Fat Mass Loss 
Diabetes  2010;59(11):2817-2825.
Fibrosis is a newly appreciated hallmark of the pathological alteration of human white adipose tissue (WAT). We investigated the composition of subcutaneous (scWAT) and omental WAT (oWAT) fibrosis in obesity and its relationship with metabolic alterations and surgery-induced weight loss.
Surgical biopsies for scWAT and oWAT were obtained in 65 obese (BMI 48.2 ± 0.8 kg/m2) and 9 lean subjects (BMI 22.8 ± 0.7 kg/m2). Obese subjects who were candidates for bariatric surgery were clinically characterized before, 3, 6, and 12 months after surgery, including fat mass evaluation by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. WAT fibrosis was quantified and characterized using quantitative PCR, microscopic observation, and immunohistochemistry.
Fibrosis amount, distribution and collagen types (I, III, and VI) present distinct characteristics in lean and obese subjects and with WAT depots localization (subcutaneous or omental). Obese subjects had more total fibrosis in oWAT and had more pericellular fibrosis around adipocytes than lean subjects in both depots. Macrophages and mastocytes were highly represented in fibrotic bundles in oWAT, whereas scWAT was more frequently characterized by hypocellular fibrosis. The oWAT fibrosis negatively correlated with omental adipocyte diameters (R = −0.30, P = 0.02), and with triglyceride levels (R = −0.42, P < 0.01), and positively with apoA1 (R = 0.25, P = 0.05). Importantly, scWAT fibrosis correlated negatively with fat mass loss measured at the three time points after surgery.
Our data suggest differential clinical consequences of fibrosis in human WAT. In oWAT, fibrosis could contribute to limit adipocyte hypertrophy and is associated with a better lipid profile, whereas scWAT fibrosis may hamper fat mass loss induced by surgery.
PMCID: PMC2963540  PMID: 20713683
6.  Different modulation by dietary restriction of adipokine expression in white adipose tissue sites in the rat 
White adipose tissue (WAT) is a disperse organ acting as energy storage depot and endocrine/paracrine controlling factor in the management of energy availability and inflammation. WAT sites response under energy-related stress is not uniform. In the present study we have analyzed how different WAT sites respond to limited food restriction as a way to better understand the role of WAT in the pathogenesis of the metabolic syndrome.
Overweight male rats had their food intake reduced a 40% compared with free-feeding controls. On day ten, the rats were killed; circulating glucose, insulin, leptin, adiponectin, triacylglycerols and other parameters were measured. The main WAT sites were dissected: mesenteric, retroperitoneal, epididymal and subcutaneous inguinal, which were weighed and frozen. Later all subcutaneous WAT was also dissected and weighed. Samples were used for DNA (cellularity) analysis and mRNA extraction and semiquantitarive RT-PCR analysis of specific cytokine gene expressions.
There was a good correlation between serum leptin and cumulative WAT leptin gene mRNA, but not for adiponectin. Food restriction reduced WAT size, but not its DNA content (except for epididymal WAT). Most cytokines were correlated to WAT site weight, but not to DNA. There was WAT site specialization in the differential expression (and probably secretion) of adipokines: subcutaneous WAT showed the highest concentration for leptin, CD68 and MCP-1, mesenteric WAT for TNFα (and both tissues for the interleukins 1β and 6); resistin was highly expressed in subcutaneous and retroperitoneal WAT.
Food restriction induced different patterns for mesenteric and the other WAT sites, which may be directly related to both the response to intestine-derived energy availability, and an inflammatory-related response. However, retroperitoneal WAT, and to a lower extent, subcutaneous and epididymal, reacted decreasing the expression of inflammatory markers and the signaling of decreased energy availability in their stores. The varying cytokine expression patterns highlight the fact that WAT sites show different inflammatory and signaling responses to energy availability; they are too much different to simply extend to the whole-body WAT the findings of one or even a couple of sites.
PMCID: PMC3224727  PMID: 19642981
7.  Role of Receptor-Interacting Protein 140 in human fat cells 
Mice lacking Receptor-interacting protein 140 (RIP140) have reduced body fat which at least partly is mediated through increased lipid and glucose metabolism in adipose tissue. In humans, RIP140 is lower expressed in visceral white adipose tissue (WAT) of obese versus lean subjects. We investigated the role of RIP140 in human subcutaneous WAT, which is the major fat depot of the body.
Messenger RNA levels of RIP140 were measured in samples of subcutaneous WAT from women with a wide variation in BMI and in different human WAT preparations. RIP140 mRNA was knocked down with siRNA in in vitro differentiated adipocytes and the impact on glucose transport and mRNA levels of target genes determined.
RIP140 mRNA levels in subcutaneous WAT were decreased among obese compared to lean women and increased by weight-loss, but did not associate with mitochondrial DNA copy number. RIP140 expression increased during adipocyte differentiation in vitro and was higher in isolated adipocytes compared to corresponding pieces of WAT. Knock down of RIP140 increased basal glucose transport and mRNA levels of glucose transporter 4 and uncoupling protein-1.
Human RIP140 inhibits glucose uptake and the expression of genes promoting energy expenditure in the same fashion as the murine orthologue. Increased levels of human RIP140 in subcutaneous WAT of lean subjects may contribute to economize on energy stores. By contrast, the function and expression pattern does not support that RIP140 regulate human obesity.
PMCID: PMC2825205  PMID: 20205832
8.  Global Transcript Profiles of Fat in Monozygotic Twins Discordant for BMI: Pathways behind Acquired Obesity  
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(3):e51.
The acquired component of complex traits is difficult to dissect in humans. Obesity represents such a trait, in which the metabolic and molecular consequences emerge from complex interactions of genes and environment. With the substantial morbidity associated with obesity, a deeper understanding of the concurrent metabolic changes is of considerable importance. The goal of this study was to investigate this important acquired component and expose obesity-induced changes in biological pathways in an identical genetic background.
Methods and Findings
We used a special study design of “clonal controls,” rare monozygotic twins discordant for obesity identified through a national registry of 2,453 young, healthy twin pairs. A total of 14 pairs were studied (eight male, six female; white), with a mean ± standard deviation (SD) age 25.8 ± 1.4 y and a body mass index (BMI) difference 5.2 ± 1.8 kg/m2. Sequence analyses of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in subcutaneous fat and peripheral leukocytes revealed no aberrant heteroplasmy between the co-twins. However, mtDNA copy number was reduced by 47% in the obese co-twin's fat. In addition, novel pathway analyses of the adipose tissue transcription profiles exposed significant down-regulation of mitochondrial branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) catabolism (p < 0.0001). In line with this finding, serum levels of insulin secretion-enhancing BCAAs were increased in obese male co-twins (9% increase, p = 0.025). Lending clinical relevance to the findings, in both sexes the observed aberrations in mitochondrial amino acid metabolism pathways in fat correlated closely with liver fat accumulation, insulin resistance, and hyperinsulinemia, early aberrations of acquired obesity in these healthy young adults.
Our findings emphasize a substantial role of mitochondrial energy- and amino acid metabolism in obesity and development of insulin resistance.
Leena Peltonen and colleagues uncover the metabolic changes that result from obesity through an analysis of genetically identical twin pairs in which one was obese and the other was not.
Editors' Summary
Around the world, the proportion of people who are obese (people with an unhealthy amount of body fat) is increasing. In the US, for example, 1 adult in 7 was obese in the mid 1970s. That is, their body mass index (BMI)—their weight in kilograms divided by their height in meters squared—was more than 30. Nowadays, 1 US adult in 3 has a BMI this high and, by 2025, it is predicted that 1 in 2 will be obese. This obesity epidemic is being driven by lifestyle changes that encourage the over-consumption of energy-rich foods and discourage regular physical activity. The resultant energy imbalance leads to weight gain (the excess energy is stored as body fat or adipose tissue) and also triggers numerous metabolic changes, alterations in the chemical processes that convert food into the energy and various substances needed to support life. These obesity-related metabolic changes increase a person's risk of developing adverse health conditions such as diabetes, a condition in which dangerously high levels of sugar from food accumulate in the blood.
Why Was This Study Done?
The changes in human fat in obesity have not been completely understood, although the abnormal metabolism of adipose tissue is increasingly seen as playing a critical part in excessive weight gain. It has been very difficult to decipher which molecular and metabolic changes associated with obesity are the result of becoming obese, and which might contribute towards the acquisition of obesity in humans in the first place. To discover more about the influence of environment on obesity-induced metabolic changes, the researchers in this study have investigated these changes in pairs of genetically identical twins.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers recruited 14 pairs of genetically identical Finnish twins born between 1975 and 1979 who were “obesity discordant”—that is, one twin of each pair had a BMI of about 25 (not obese); the other had a BMI of about 30 (obese). The researchers took fat and blood samples from each twin, determined the insulin sensitivity of each, and measured the body composition and various fat stores of each. They found that the obese twins had more subcutaneous, intra-abdominal, and liver fat and were less insulin sensitive than the non-obese twins. Insulin sensitivity correlated with the amount of liver fat. Analysis of gene expression in the fat samples showed that 19 gene pathways (mainly inflammatory pathways) were expressed more strongly (up-regulated) in the obese twins than the non-obese twins, whereas seven pathways were down-regulated. The most highly down-regulated pathway was a mitochondrial pathway involved in amino acid breakdown, but mitochondrial energy metabolism pathways were also down-regulated. Finally, mitochondrial DNA copy number in fat was reduced in the obese twins by nearly half, a novel observation that could partly account for the obesity-induced metabolic defects of these individuals.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These and other findings identify several pathways that are involved in the development of obesity and insulin resistance. In particular, they suggest that changes in mitochondrial energy production pathways and in mitochondrial amino acid metabolism pathways could play important roles in the development of obesity and of insulin resistance and in the accumulation of liver fat even in young obese people. The study design involving identical twins has here produced some evidence for aberrations in molecules critical for acquired obesity. The results suggest that careful management of obesity by lifestyle changes has the potential to correct the obesity-related metabolic changes in fat that would otherwise lead to diabetes and other adverse health conditions in obese individuals. In addition, they suggest that the development of therapies designed to correct mitochondrial metabolism might help to reduce the illnesses associated with obesity.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The MedlinePlus encyclopedia has pages on obesity and diabetes (in English and Spanish)
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides information on all aspects of obesity (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service's health Web site (NHS Direct) provides information about obesity
The International Obesity Taskforce provides information about preventing obesity and on diabetes and obesity
The UK Foods Standards Agency and the United States Department of Agriculture provide online tools and useful advice about healthy eating for adults and children
Information is available for patients and carers from the US National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse on diabetes, including information on insulin resistance
PMCID: PMC2265758  PMID: 18336063
9.  Partial Inhibition of Adipose Tissue Lipolysis Improves Glucose Metabolism and Insulin Sensitivity Without Alteration of Fat Mass 
PLoS Biology  2013;11(2):e1001485.
Partial inhibition of adipose tissue lipolysis does not increase fat mass but improves glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity through modulation of fatty acid turnover and induction of fat cell de novo lipogenesis.
When energy is needed, white adipose tissue (WAT) provides fatty acids (FAs) for use in peripheral tissues via stimulation of fat cell lipolysis. FAs have been postulated to play a critical role in the development of obesity-induced insulin resistance, a major risk factor for diabetes and cardiovascular disease. However, whether and how chronic inhibition of fat mobilization from WAT modulates insulin sensitivity remains elusive. Hormone-sensitive lipase (HSL) participates in the breakdown of WAT triacylglycerol into FAs. HSL haploinsufficiency and treatment with a HSL inhibitor resulted in improvement of insulin tolerance without impact on body weight, fat mass, and WAT inflammation in high-fat-diet–fed mice. In vivo palmitate turnover analysis revealed that blunted lipolytic capacity is associated with diminution in FA uptake and storage in peripheral tissues of obese HSL haploinsufficient mice. The reduction in FA turnover was accompanied by an improvement of glucose metabolism with a shift in respiratory quotient, increase of glucose uptake in WAT and skeletal muscle, and enhancement of de novo lipogenesis and insulin signalling in liver. In human adipocytes, HSL gene silencing led to improved insulin-stimulated glucose uptake, resulting in increased de novo lipogenesis and activation of cognate gene expression. In clinical studies, WAT lipolytic rate was positively and negatively correlated with indexes of insulin resistance and WAT de novo lipogenesis gene expression, respectively. In obese individuals, chronic inhibition of lipolysis resulted in induction of WAT de novo lipogenesis gene expression. Thus, reduction in WAT lipolysis reshapes FA fluxes without increase of fat mass and improves glucose metabolism through cell-autonomous induction of fat cell de novo lipogenesis, which contributes to improved insulin sensitivity.
Author Summary
In periods of energy demand, mobilization of fat stores in mammals (i.e., adipose tissue lipolysis) is essential to provide energy in the form of fatty acids. In excess, however, fatty acids induce resistance to the action of insulin, which serves to regulate glucose metabolism in skeletal muscle and liver. Insulin resistance (or low insulin sensitivity) is believed to be a cornerstone of the complications of obesity such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. In this study, our clinical observation of natural variation in fat cell lipolysis in individuals reveals that a high lipolytic rate is associated with low insulin sensitivity. Furthermore, partial genetic and pharmacologic inhibition of hormone-sensitive lipase, one of the enzymes involved in the breakdown of white adipose tissue lipids, results in improvement of insulin sensitivity in mice without gain in body weight and fat mass. We undertake a series of mechanistic studies in mice and in human fat cells to show that blunted lipolytic capacity increases the synthesis of new fatty acids from glucose in fat cells, a pathway that has recently been shown by others to be a major determinant of whole body insulin sensitivity. In conclusion, partial inhibition of adipose tissue lipolysis is a plausible strategy in the treatment of obesity-related insulin resistance.
PMCID: PMC3576369  PMID: 23431266
10.  Visceral and subcutaneous fat have different origins and evidence supports a mesothelial source 
Nature cell biology  2014;16(4):367-375.
Fuelled by the obesity epidemic, there is considerable interest in the developmental origins of white adipose tissue (WAT) and the stem/progenitor cells from which it arises. While increased visceral fat mass is associated with metabolic dysfunction, increased subcutaneous WAT is protective. There are 6 visceral fat depots: perirenal, gonadal, epicardial, retroperitoneal, omental and mesenteric and it is a subject of much debate whether these have common developmental origins and whether this differs from subcutaneous WAT. Here we show that all 6 visceral WAT depots receive a significant contribution from cells expressing Wt1 late in gestation. Conversely, no subcutaneous WAT or brown adipose tissue (BAT) arises from Wt1 expressing cells. Postnatally, a subset of visceral WAT continues to arise from Wt1 expressing cells, consistent with the finding that Wt1 marks a proportion of cell populations enriched in WAT progenitors. We show all visceral fat depots have a mesothelial layer like the visceral organs with which they are associated and provide several lines of evidence that Wt1 expressing mesothelium can produce adipocytes. These results: reveal a major ontogenetic difference between visceral and subcutaneous WAT; pinpoint the lateral plate mesoderm as a major source of visceral WAT; support the notion that visceral WAT progenitors are heterogeneous; and suggest that mesothelium is a source of adipocytes.
PMCID: PMC4060514  PMID: 24609269
11.  Time-course microarrays reveal early activation of the immune transcriptome and adipokine dysregulation leads to fibrosis in visceral adipose depots during diet-induced obesity 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:450.
Visceral white adipose tissue (WAT) hypertrophy, adipokine production, inflammation and fibrosis are strongly associated with obesity, but the time-course of these changes in-vivo are not fully understood. Therefore, the aim of this study was to establish the time-course of changes in adipocyte morphology, adipokines and the global transcriptional landscape in visceral WAT during the development of diet-induced obesity.
C57BL/6 J mice were fed a high-fat diet (HFD) or normal diet (ND) and sacrificed at 8 time-points over 24 weeks. Excessive fat accumulation was evident in visceral WAT depots (Epidydimal, Perirenal, Retroperitoneum, Mesentery) after 2–4 weeks. Fibrillar collagen accumulation was evident in epidydimal adipocytes at 24 weeks. Plasma adipokines, leptin, resistin and adipsin, increased early and time-dependently, while adiponectin decreased late after 20 weeks. Only plasma leptin and adiponectin levels were associated with their respective mRNA levels in visceral WAT. Time-course microarrays revealed early and sustained activation of the immune transcriptome in epididymal and mesenteric depots. Up-regulated inflammatory genes included pro-inflammatory cytokines, chemokines (Tnf, Il1rn, Saa3, Emr1, Adam8, Itgam, Ccl2, 3, 4, 6, 7 and 9) and their upstream signalling pathway genes (multiple Toll-like receptors, Irf5 and Cd14). Early changes also occurred in fibrosis, extracellular matrix, collagen and cathepsin related-genes, but histological fibrosis was only visible in the later stages.
In diet-induced obesity, early activation of TLR-mediated inflammatory signalling cascades by CD antigen genes, leads to increased expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, resulting in chronic low-grade inflammation. Early changes in collagen genes may trigger the accumulation of ECM components, promoting fibrosis in the later stages of diet-induced obesity. New therapeutic approaches targeting visceral adipose tissue genes altered early by HFD feeding may help ameliorate the deleterious effects of diet-induced obesity.
PMCID: PMC3447724  PMID: 22947075
Adipocytokine dysregulation; Transcriptional response; Adipose tissue; Extracellular matrix; Cathepsin; Fibrosis
12.  The Great Roundleaf Bat (Hipposideros armiger) as a Good Model for Cold-Induced Browning of Intra-Abdominal White Adipose Tissue 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e112495.
Inducing beige fat from white adipose tissue (WAT) is considered to be a shortcut to weight loss and increasingly becoming a key area in research into treatments for obesity and related diseases. However, currently, animal models of beige fat are restricted to rodents, where subcutaneous adipose tissue (sWAT, benign WAT) is more liable to develop into the beige fat under specific activators than the intra-abdominal adipose tissue (aWAT, malignant WAT) that is the major source of obesity related diseases in humans.
Here we induced beige fat by cold exposure in two species of bats, the great roundleaf bat (Hipposideros armiger) and the rickett's big-footed bat (Myotis ricketti), and compared the molecular and morphological changes with those seen in the mouse. Expression of thermogenic genes (Ucp1 and Pgc1a) was measured by RT-qPCR and adipocyte morphology examined by HE staining at three adipose locations, sWAT, aWAT and iBAT (interscapular brown adipose tissue).
Expression of Ucp1 and Pgc1a was significantly upregulated, by 729 and 23 fold, respectively, in aWAT of the great roundleaf bat after exposure to 10°C for 7 days. Adipocyte diameters of WATs became significantly reduced and the white adipocytes became brown-like in morphology. In mice, similar changes were found in the sWAT, but much lower amounts of changes in aWAT were seen. Interestingly, the rickett's big-footed bat did not show such a tendency in beige fat.
The great roundleaf bat is potentially a good animal model for human aWAT browning research. Combined with rodent models, this model should be helpful for finding therapies for reducing harmful aWAT in humans.
PMCID: PMC4231071  PMID: 25393240
13.  Allograft inflammatory factor 1 (AIF-1) is a new human adipokine involved in adipose inflammation in obese women 
Allograft inflammatory factor 1 (AIF-1) is a putative obesity gene. Our aim was to examine the expression of AIF-1 in human white adipose tissue (WAT) in relation to obesity and metabolic phenotypes in women.
WAT secretion of AIF-1 was determined in subcutaneous adipose tissue pieces in vitro by ELISA from 5 subjects. mRNA expression of AIF-1 was determined by RT-qPCR in the isolated cell fractions of adipose tissue (n = 5-6 per group), in subcutaneous and visceral WAT pieces from non-obese (n = 12) and obese women (n = 23), and in some subcutaneous WAT also before and after weight reduction (n = 10). Finally, adipose AIF-1 mRNA was related to metabolic phenotypes in 96 subjects with a wide range of BMI.
AIF-1 was secreted in a time dependent fashion from WAT. The major source of AIF-1 was WAT resident macrophages. Expression of AIF-1 was similar in visceral and subcutaneous WAT and was two-fold increased in obese women (P < 0.01). AIF-1 mRNA expression levels were normalized after weight reduction (P < 0.01). Expression of AIF-1 was inversely correlated with insulin sensitivity as assessed by insulin tolerance test (KITT), and circulating levels of adiponectin (P = 0.02), and positively correlated with insulin resistance as estimated by HOMA (=0.0042).
AIF-1 is a novel adipokine produced mainly by macrophages within human WAT. Its expression is increased in obese women and associates with unfavourable metabolic phenotypes. AIF-1 may play a paracrine role in the regulation of WAT function through cross-talk between macrophages and other cell types within the adipose tissue.
PMCID: PMC4175115  PMID: 24267103
AIF-1; Adipokines; Obesity; Adipose tissue
14.  Arteriolar function in visceral adipose tissue is impaired in human obesity 
The purpose of this study was to characterize the relationship between adipose tissue phenotype and depot-specific microvascular function in fat.
Methods and Results
In 30 obese subjects (age 42±11 yr, BMI 46±11 kg/m2) undergoing bariatric surgery, we intra-operatively collected visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissue and characterized depot-specific adipose phenotypes. We assessed vasomotor function of the adipose microvasculature using videomicroscopy of small arterioles (75–250 μm) isolated from different fat compartments. Endothelium-dependent, acetylcholine-mediated vasodilation was severely impaired in visceral arterioles, compared to the subcutaneous depot (P<0.001 by ANOVA). Non-endothelium dependent responses to papaverine and nitroprusside were similar. Endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) inhibition with Nω-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME) reduced subcutaneous vasodilation but had no effect on severely blunted visceral arteriolar responses. Visceral fat exhibited greater expression of proinflammatory, oxidative stress-related, hypoxia-induced, and proangiogenic genes; increased activated macrophage populations; and higher capacity for cytokine production ex vivo.
Our findings provide clinical evidence that the visceral microenvironment may be intrinsically toxic to arterial health providing a potential mechanism by which visceral adiposity burden is linked to atherosclerotic vascular disease. Our findings also support the evolving concept that both adipose tissue quality and quantity may play significant roles in shaping cardiovascular phenotypes in human obesity.
PMCID: PMC3262114  PMID: 22095978
adiposity; endothelium; vasodilation; arteries; inflammation
15.  Subcutaneous adipose tissue transplantation in diet-induced obese mice attenuates metabolic dysregulation while removal exacerbates it 
Physiological Reports  2013;1(2):e00015.
Adipose tissue distribution is an important determinant of obesity-related comorbidities. It is well established that central obesity (visceral adipose tissue accumulation) is a risk factor for many adverse health consequences such as dyslipidemia, insulin resistance, and type-2-diabetes. We hypothesize that the metabolic dysregulation that occurs following high fat diet-induced increases in adiposity are due to alterations in visceral adipose tissue function which influence lipid flux to the liver via the portal vein. This metabolic pathology is not exclusively due to increases in visceral adipose tissue mass but also driven by intrinsic characteristics of this particular depot. In Experiment 1, high fat diet (HFD)-induced obese control (abdominal incision, but no fat manipulation) or autologous (excision and subsequent relocation of adipose tissue) subcutaneous tissue transplantation to the visceral cavity. In Experiment 2, mice received control surgery, subcutaneous fat removal, or heterotransplantation (tissue from obese donor) to the visceral cavity. Body composition analysis and glucose tolerance tests were performed 4 weeks postsurgery. Adipose mass and portal adipokines, cytokines, lipids, and insulin were measured from samples collected at 5 weeks postsurgery. Auto- and heterotransplantation in obese mice improved glucose tolerance, decreased systemic insulin concentration, and reduced portal lipids and hepatic triglycerides compared with HFD controls. Heterotransplantation of subcutaneous adipose tissue to the visceral cavity in obese mice restored hepatic insulin sensitivity and reduced insulin and leptin concentrations to chow control levels. Fat removal, however, as an independent procedure exacerbated obesity-induced increases in leptin and insulin concentrations. Overall subcutaneous adipose tissue protects against aspects of metabolic dysregulation in obese mice. Transplantation-induced improvements do not occur via enhanced storage of lipid in adipose tissue, however, altered hepatic lipid regulation may play a contributory role.
PMCID: PMC3728904  PMID: 23914298
Glucose intolerance; insulin resistance; lipectomy; peripheral adipose tissue; type-2-diabetes; visceral obesity
16.  Subcutaneous Adipose Tissue Transplantation in Diet-Induced Obese Mice Attenuates Metabolic Dysregulation While Removal Exacerbates It 
Physiological reports  2013;1(2):e00015.
Adipose tissue distribution is an important determinant of obesity-related comorbidities. It is well established that central obesity (visceral adipose tissue accumulation) is a risk factor for many adverse health consequences such as dyslipidemia, insulin resistance and type-2-diabetes. We hypothesize that the metabolic dysregulation that occurs following high fat diet-induced increases in adiposity are due to alterations in visceral adipose tissue function which influence lipid flux to the liver via the portal vein. This metabolic pathology is not exclusively due to increases in visceral adipose tissue mass but also driven by intrinsic characteristics of this particular depot. In Experiment 1, high fat diet (HFD)-induced obese control (abdominal incision, but no fat manipulation) or autologous (excision and subsequent relocation of adipose tissue) subcutaneous tissue transplantation to the visceral cavity. In Experiment 2 mice received control surgery, subcutaneous fat removal or hetero-transplantation (tissue from obese donor) to the visceral cavity. Body composition analysis and glucose tolerance tests were performed 4 weeks post-surgery. Adipose mass and portal adipokines, cytokines, lipids and insulin were measured from samples collected at 5 weeks post-surgery. Auto- and hetero- transplantation in obese mice improved glucose tolerance, decreased systemic insulin concentration and reduced portal lipids and hepatic triglycerides compared with HFD controls. Hetero-transplantation of subcutaneous adipose tissue to the visceral cavity in obese mice restored hepatic insulin sensitivity and reduced insulin and leptin concentrations to chow control levels. Fat removal, however, as an independent procedure exacerbated obesity-induced increases in leptin and insulin concentrations. Overall subcutaneous adipose tissue protects against aspects of metabolic dysregulation in obese mice. Transplantation-induced improvements do not occur via enhanced storage of lipid in adipose tissue, however altered hepatic lipid regulation may play a contributory role.
PMCID: PMC3728904  PMID: 23914298
Glucose Intolerance; Visceral Obesity; Peripheral Adipose Tissue; Lipectomy; Insulin Resistance; Type-2-diabetes
17.  Moderate exercise training provides modest protection against adipose tissue inflammatory gene expression in response to high‐fat feeding 
Physiological Reports  2014;2(7):e12071.
As white adipose tissue (WAT) expands under obesogenic conditions, local WAT hypoxia may contribute to the chronic low‐grade inflammation observed in obesity. Aerobic exercise training is beneficial in treating WAT inflammation after obesity is established, but it remains unknown whether exercise training, while on a concomitant high‐fat (HF) diet, influences WAT inflammation during the development of obesity. We sought to determine the effects of 4, 8, and 12 weeks of HF feeding and/or moderate intensity treadmill exercise training (EX) on the relationship between inflammatory and hypoxic gene expression within mouse WAT. Male C57Bl6/J mice (n = 113) were randomized into low‐fat (LF)/sedentary (SED), LF/EX, HF/SED, or HF/EX groups. The low‐fat and high‐fat diets contained 10% and 60% energy from fat, respectively. Exercise training consisted of treadmill running 5 days/week at 12 m/min, 8% incline, 40 min/day. Quantitative real‐time PCR was used to assess gene expression. HF diet impaired glucose regulation, and upregulated WAT gene expression of inflammation (IL‐1β, IL‐1ra, TNFα), macrophage recruitment and infiltration (F4/80 and monocyte chemoattractant protein), and M1 (CD11c) and M2 (CD206 and Arginase‐1) macrophage polarization markers. Treadmill training resulted in a modest reduction of WAT macrophage and inflammatory gene expression. HF diet had little effect on hypoxia‐inducible factor‐1α and vascular endothelial growth factor, suggesting that WAT inflammatory gene expression may not be driven by hypoxia within the adipocytes. Treadmill training may provide protection by preventing WAT expansion and macrophage recruitment.
We report that moderate exercise training provides modest protection from inflammation within white adipose tissue over time when mice are concomitantly placed on a high‐fat diet. The exercise‐induced protection of white adipose tissue was associated with reductions in both total and M1 macrophage polarization. Our findings highlight that moderate exercise training may delay the onset of white adipose tissue inflammation and impaired glycemic control when mice consume a high‐fat diet; however, the benefits of exercise may be limited when poor lifestyle choices are maintained.
PMCID: PMC4187542  PMID: 25347855
Exercise training; hypoxia; inflammation; macrophage polarization; white adipose tissue
18.  FNDC5/Irisin Is Not Only a Myokine but Also an Adipokine 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e60563.
Exercise provides clear beneficial effects for the prevention of numerous diseases. However, many of the molecular events responsible for the curative and protective role of exercise remain elusive. The recent discovery of FNDC5/irisin protein that is liberated by muscle tissue in response to exercise might be an important finding with regard to this unsolved mechanism. The most striking aspect of this myokine is its alleged capacity to drive brown-fat development of white fat and thermogenesis. However, the nature and secretion form of this new protein is controversial. The present study reveals that rat skeletal muscle secretes a 25 kDa form of FNDC5, while the 12 kDa/irisin theoretical peptide was not detected. More importantly, this study is the first to reveal that white adipose tissue (WAT) also secretes FNDC5; hence, it may also behave as an adipokine. Our data using rat adipose tissue explants secretomes proves that visceral adipose tissue (VAT), and especially subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT), express and secrete FNDC5. We also show that short-term periods of endurance exercise training induced FNDC5 secretion by SAT and VAT. Moreover, we observed that WAT significantly reduced FNDC5 secretion in fasting animals. Interestingly, WAT of obese animals over-secreted this hormone, which might suggest a type of resistance. Because 72% of circulating FNDC5/irisin was previously attributed to muscle secretion, our findings suggest a muscle-adipose tissue crosstalk through a regulatory feedback mechanism.
PMCID: PMC3623960  PMID: 23593248
19.  Pregnancy in Obese Mice Protects Selectively against Visceral Adiposity and Is Associated with Increased Adipocyte Estrogen Signalling 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e94680.
Maternal obesity is linked with increased adverse pregnancy outcomes for both mother and child. The metabolic impact of excessive fat within the context of pregnancy is not fully understood. We used a mouse model of high fat (HF) feeding to induce maternal obesity to identify adipose tissue-mediated mechanisms driving metabolic dysfunction in pregnant and non-pregnant obese mice. As expected, chronic HF-feeding for 12 weeks preceding pregnancy increased peripheral (subcutaneous) and visceral (mesenteric) fat mass. However, unexpectedly at late gestation (E18.5) HF-fed mice exhibited a remarkable normalization of visceral but not peripheral adiposity, with a 53% reduction in non-pregnant visceral fat mass expressed as a proportion of body weight (P<0.001). In contrast, in control animals, pregnancy had no effect on visceral fat mass proportion. Obesity exaggerated glucose intolerance at mid-pregnancy (E14.5). However by E18.5, there were no differences, in glucose tolerance between obese and control mice. Transcriptomic analysis of visceral fat from HF-fed dams at E18.5 revealed reduced expression of genes involved in de novo lipogenesis (diacylglycerol O-acyltransferase 2 - Dgat2) and inflammation (chemokine C-C motif ligand 2 - Ccl2) and upregulation of estrogen receptor α (ERα) compared to HF non pregnant. Attenuation of adipose inflammation was functionally confirmed by a 45% reduction of CD11b+CD11c+ adipose tissue macrophages (expressed as a proportion of all stromal vascular fraction cells) in HF pregnant compared to HF non pregnant animals (P<0.001). An ERα selective agonist suppressed both de novo lipogenesis and expression of lipogenic genes in adipocytes in vitro. These data show that, in a HF model of maternal obesity, late gestation is associated with amelioration of visceral fat hypertrophy, inflammation and glucose intolerance, and suggest that these effects are mediated in part by elevated visceral adipocyte ERα signaling.
PMCID: PMC3986097  PMID: 24732937
20.  Chemical-shift water-fat MRI of white adipose depots: inability to resolve cell size differences 
Adipocyte cell size varies among individuals and importantly, is inversely correlated with insulin sensitivity, and modifiable by weight loss or pharmaceutical agents. However, there are no non-invasive, in vivo methods for adipocyte cell size determination. Here we apply Chemical-Shift Water-Fat MRI to in vivo measures of subcutaneous (inguinal) and visceral (gonadal) white adipose tissue (WAT) to determine whether the fat-signal fraction (FF) is a sensitive indicator of adipocyte cell size.
Materials and methods
C57BL/6J male mice (8 weeks old) were singly housed and fed a low-fat diet, high-fat diet or very high-fat diet (n = 16 or 15/group) for 8 weeks. Food intake, body weight and composition were measured; CS-MRI was performed on a 9.4 Tesla Bruker magnet with respiratory gating and anesthesia. Histology was acquired for gonadal WAT; both gonadal and inguinal WAT were fixed with osmium tetroxide and then measured through Image J for cell size.
Mice fed with higher fat content diets gained significantly more body weight, fat and lean mass while maintaining higher energy intakes over the 8 weeks. There was no significant difference in fat fraction for either gonadal (P = 0.1295) or inguinal (P = 0.4704) WAT among the three groups, despite significantly larger adipocytes (P <0.0001) in mice on high fat diets.
Although diet-induced obesity significantly increased the amount of fat mass, as well as mean and overall white adipocyte cell size, the CS-MRI measured fat fraction between groups were not significantly different. These results do not support the utility of CS-MRI measured FF for in vivo determination of adipocyte cell size.
PMCID: PMC3649013  PMID: 23667321
White adipose tissue; inguinal; gonadal; fat fraction
21.  White Adipose Tissue Resilience to Insulin Deprivation and Replacement 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e106214.
Adipocyte size and body fat distribution are strongly linked to the metabolic complications of obesity. The aim of the present study was to test the plasticity of white adipose tissue in response to insulin deprivation and replacement. We have characterized the changes of adipose cell size repartition and gene expressions in type 1 diabetes Sprague-Dawley rats and type 1 diabetic supplemented with insulin.
Using streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetes, we induced rapid changes in rat adipose tissue weights to study the changes in the distribution of adipose cell sizes in retroperitoneal (rWAT), epididymal (eWAT) and subcutaneous adipose tissues (scWAT). Adipose tissue weights of type 1 diabetic rats were then rapidly restored by insulin supplementation. Cell size distributions were analyzed using multisizer IV (Beckman Coulter). Cell size changes were correlated to transcriptional regulation of genes coding for proteins involved in lipid and glucose metabolisms and adipocytokines.
The initial body weight of the rats was 465±5.2 g. Insulin privation was stopped when rats lost 100 g which induced reductions in fat mass of 68% for rWAT, 42% for eWAT and 59% for scWAT corresponding to decreased mode cell diameters by 31.1%, 20%, 25.3%, respectively. The most affected size distribution by insulin deprivation was observed in rWAT. The bimodal distribution of adipose cell sizes disappeared in response to insulin deprivation in rWAT and scWAT. The most important observation is that cell size distribution returned close to control values in response to insulin treatment. mRNAs coding for adiponectin, leptin and apelin were more stimulated in scWAT compared to other depots in diabetic plus insulin group.
Fat depots have specific responses to insulin deprivation and supplementation. The results show that insulin is a major determinant of bimodal cell repartition in adipose tissues.
PMCID: PMC4149534  PMID: 25170835
22.  Differential screening identifies transcripts with depot-dependent expression in white adipose tissues 
BMC Genomics  2008;9:397.
The co-morbidities of obesity are tied to location of excess fat in the intra-abdominal as compared to subcutaneous white adipose tissue (WAT) depot. Genes distinctly expressed in WAT depots may impart depot-dependent physiological functions. To identify such genes, we prepared subtractive cDNA libraries from murine subcutaneous (SC) or intra-abdominal epididymal (EP) white adipocytes.
Differential screening and qPCR validation identified 7 transcripts with 2.5-fold or greater enrichment in EP vs. SC adipocytes. Boc, a component of the hedgehog signaling pathway demonstrated highest enrichment (~12-fold) in EP adipocytes. We also identified a dramatic enrichment in SC adipocytes vs. EP adipocytes and in SC WAT vs. EP WAT for transcript(s) for the major urinary proteins (Mups), small secreted proteins with pheromone functions that are members of the lipocalin family. Expression of Boc and Mup transcript was further assessed in murine tissues, adipogenesis models, and obesity. qPCR analysis reveals that EP WAT is a major site of expression of Boc transcript. Furthermore, Boc transcript expression decreased in obese EP WAT with a concomitant upregulation of Boc transcript in the obese SC WAT depot. Assessment of the Boc binding partner Cdon in adipose tissue and cell fractions thereof, revealed transcript expression similar to Boc; suggestive of a role for the Boc-Cdon axis in WAT depot function. Mup transcripts were predominantly expressed in liver and in the SC and RP WAT depots and increased several thousand-fold during differentiation of primary murine preadipocytes to adipocytes. Mup transcripts were also markedly reduced in SC WAT and liver of ob/ob genetically obese mice compared to wild type.
Further assessment of WAT depot-enriched transcripts may uncover distinctions in WAT depot gene expression that illuminate the physiological impact of regional adiposity.
PMCID: PMC2547859  PMID: 18721461
23.  Dysfunctional Adiposity and the Risk of Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes in Obese Adults 
The risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus is heterogeneous among obese individuals. Factors that discriminate prediabetes or diabetes risk within this population have not been well characterized. A dysfunctional adiposity phenotype, characterized by excess visceral fat and insulin resistance, may contribute to diabetes development in those with obesity.
To investigate associations between adiposity phenotypes and risk for incident prediabetes and diabetes in a multiethnic, population-based cohort of obese adults.
Design, Setting, and Participants
Among 732 obese participants (body mass index ≥30) aged 30 to 65 years without diabetes or cardiovascular disease enrolled between 2000 and 2002 in the Dallas Heart Study, we measured body composition by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); circulating adipokines and biomarkers of insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, and inflammation; and subclinical atherosclerosis and cardiac structure and function by computed tomography and MRI.
Main Outcome Measures
Incidence of diabetes through a median 7.0 years (interquartile range, 6.6–7.6) of follow-up. In a subgroup of 512 participants with normal fasting glucose values at baseline, incidence of the composite of prediabetes or diabetes was determined.
Of the 732 participants (mean age, 43 years; 65% women; 71% non-white), 84 (11.5%) developed diabetes. In multivariable analysis, higher baseline visceral fat mass (odds ratio [OR] per 1 SD [1.4 kg], 2.4; 95% CI, 1.6–3.7), fructosamine level (OR per 1 SD [1.1 μmol/L], 2.0; 95% CI, 1.4–2.7), fasting glucose level (OR per 1 SD [1.1 μmol/L], 1.9; 95% CI, 1.4–2.6), family history of diabetes (OR, 2.3; 95% CI, 1.3–4.3), systolic blood pressure (OR per 10 mm Hg, 1.3; 95% CI, 1.1–1.5), and weight gain over follow-up (OR per 1 kg, 1.06; 95% CI, 1.02–1.10) were independently associated with diabetes, with no associations observed for body mass index, total body fat, or abdominal subcutaneous fat. Among the 512 participants with normal baseline glucose values, the composite outcome of prediabetes or diabetes occurred in 39.1% and was independently associated with baseline measurements of visceral fat mass; levels of fasting glucose, insulin, and fructosamine; older age; non-white race; family history of diabetes; and weight gain over follow-up (P<.05 for each) but not with measurements of general adiposity.
Excess visceral fat and insulin resistance, but not general adiposity, were independently associated with incident prediabetes and type 2 diabetes mellitus in obese adults.
PMCID: PMC3556508  PMID: 22990274
24.  Moderate Caloric Restriction during Gestation in Rats Alters Adipose Tissue Sympathetic Innervation and Later Adiposity in Offspring 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(2):e17313.
Maternal prenatal undernutrition predisposes offspring to higher adiposity in adulthood. Mechanisms involved in these programming effects, apart from those described in central nervous system development, have not been established. Here we aimed to evaluate whether moderate caloric restriction during early pregnancy in rats affects white adipose tissue (WAT) sympathetic innervation in the offspring, and its relationship with adiposity development. For this purpose, inguinal and retroperitoneal WAT (iWAT and rpWAT, respectively) were analyzed in male and female offspring of control and 20% caloric-restricted (from 1–12 d of pregnancy) (CR) dams. Body weight (BW), the weight, DNA-content, morphological features and the immunoreactive tyrosine hydroxylase and Neuropeptide Y area (TH+ and NPY+ respectively, performed by immunohistochemistry) of both fat depots, were studied at 25 d and 6 m of age, the latter after 2 m exposure to high fat diet. At 6 m of life, CR males but not females, exhibited greater BW, and greater weight and total DNA-content in iWAT, without changes in adipocytes size, suggesting the development of hyperplasia in this depot. However, in rpWAT, CR males but not females, showed larger adipocyte diameter, with no changes in DNA-content, suggesting the development of hypertrophy. These parameters were not different between control and CR animals at the age of 25 d. In iWAT, both at 25 d and 6 m, CR males but not females, showed lower TH+ and NPY+, suggesting lower sympathetic innervation in CR males compared to control males. In rpWAT, at 6 m but not at 25 d, CR males but not females, showed lower TH+ and NPY+. Thus, the effects of caloric restriction during gestation on later adiposity and on the differences in the adult phenotype between internal and subcutaneous fat depots in the male offspring may be associated in part with specific alterations in sympathetic innervation, which may impact on WAT architecture.
PMCID: PMC3041800  PMID: 21364997
25.  Deficiency of C5L2 Increases Macrophage Infiltration and Alters Adipose Tissue Function in Mice 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e60795.
Obesity is considered as a systemic chronic low grade inflammation characterized by increased serum pro-inflammatory proteins and accumulation of macrophages within white adipose tissue (WAT) of obese patients. C5L2, a 7-transmembrane receptor, serves a dual function, binding the lipogenic hormone acylation stimulating protein (ASP), and C5a, involved in innate immunity.
We evaluated the impact of C5L2 on macrophage infiltration in WAT of wildtype (Ctl) and C5L2 knock-out (C5L2−/−) mice over 6, 12 and 24 weeks on a chow diet and moderate diet-induced obesity (DIO) conditions.
In Ctl mice, WAT C5L2 and C5a receptor mRNA increased (up to 10-fold) both over time and with DIO. By contrast, in C5L2−/−, there was no change in C5aR in WAT. C5L2−/− mice displayed higher macrophage content in WAT, varying by time, fat depot and diet, associated with altered systemic and WAT cytokine patterns compared to Ctl mice. However, in all cases, the M1 (pro-) vs M2 (anti-inflammatory) macrophage proportion was unchanged but C5L2−/− adipose tissue secretome appeared to be more chemoattractant. Moreover, C5L2−/− mice have increased food intake, increased WAT, and altered WAT lipid gene expression, which is reflected systemically. Furthermore, C5L2−/− mice have altered glucose/insulin metabolism, adiponectin and insulin signalling gene expression in WAT, which could contribute to development of insulin resistance.
Disruption of C5L2 increases macrophage presence in WAT, contributing to obesity-associated pathologies, and further supports a dual role of complement in WAT. Understanding this effect of the complement system pathway could contribute to targeting treatment of obesity and its comorbidities.
PMCID: PMC3632610  PMID: 23630572

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