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1.  Restrained and External-Emotional Eating Patterns in Young Overweight Children–Results of the Ulm Birth Cohort Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e105303.
Childhood obesity is one of the greatest public health challenges in Western countries. Abnormal eating behavior is thought to be a developmental trajectory to obesity. The Eating Pattern Inventory for Children (EPI-C) has not been used for children as young as eight years, and possible associations with body weight have not yet been established. Five hundred and twenty-one children of the Ulm Birth Cohort Study (UBCS; age eight) filled out the EPI-C and BMI was assessed. Adequacy of the scales was tested with confirmatory factor analysis and a MANOVA and cluster analysis established associations between eating patterns and BMI. The factor structure of the EPI-C was confirmed (GFI = .968) and abnormal eating behavior was associated with overweight (χ2(8) = 79.29, p<.001). The EPI-C is a valid assessment tool in this young age group. Overweight children consciously restrain their eating.
PMCID: PMC4139345  PMID: 25141134
2.  Establishment of Lipofection for Studying miRNA Function in Human Adipocytes 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e98023.
miRNA dysregulation has recently been linked to human obesity and its related complications such as type 2 diabetes. In order to study miRNA function in human adipocytes, we aimed for the modulation of mature miRNA concentration in these cells. Adipocytes, however, tend to be resistant to transfection and there is often a need to resort to viral transduction or electroporation. Our objective therefore was to identify an efficient, non-viral transfection reagent capable of delivering small RNAs into these cells. To achieve this, we compared the efficiencies of three transfection agents, Lipofectamine 2000, ScreenFect A and BPEI 1.2 k in delivering fluorescent-labelled siRNA into human Simpson-Golabi-Behmel syndrome (SGBS) preadipocytes and adipocytes. Downregulation of a specific target gene in response to miRNA mimic overexpression was assayed in SGBS cells and also in ex vivo differentiated primary human adipocytes. Our results demonstrated that while all three transfection agents were able to internalize the oligos, only lipofection resulted in the efficient downregulation of a specific target gene both in SGBS cells and in primary human adipocytes. Lipofectamine 2000 outperformed ScreenFect A in preadipocytes, but in adipocytes the two reagents gave comparable results making ScreenFect A a notable new alternative for the gold standard Lipofectamine 2000.
PMCID: PMC4029777  PMID: 24849298
3.  Mitochondrial DNA Variants in Obesity 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e94882.
Heritability estimates for body mass index (BMI) variation are high. For mothers and their offspring higher BMI correlations have been described than for fathers. Variation(s) in the exclusively maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) might contribute to this parental effect. Thirty-two to 40 mtDNA single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were available from genome-wide association study SNP arrays (Affymetrix 6.0). For discovery, we analyzed association in a case-control (CC) sample of 1,158 extremely obese children and adolescents and 435 lean adult controls. For independent confirmation, 7,014 population-based adults were analyzed as CC sample of n = 1,697 obese cases (BMI≥30 kg/m2) and n = 2,373 normal weight and lean controls (BMI<25 kg/m2). SNPs were analyzed as single SNPs and haplogroups determined by HaploGrep. Fisher's two-sided exact test was used for association testing. Moreover, the D-loop was re-sequenced (Sanger) in 192 extremely obese children and adolescents and 192 lean adult controls. Association testing of detected variants was performed using Fisher's two-sided exact test. For discovery, nominal association with obesity was found for the frequent allele G of m.8994G/A (rs28358887, p = 0.002) located in ATP6. Haplogroup W was nominally overrepresented in the controls (p = 0.039). These findings could not be confirmed independently. For two of the 252 identified D-loop variants nominal association was detected (m.16292C/T, p = 0.007, m.16189T/C, p = 0.048). Only eight controls carried the m.16292T allele, five of whom belonged to haplogroup W that was initially enriched among these controls. m.16189T/C might create an uninterrupted poly-C tract located near a regulatory element involved in replication of mtDNA. Though follow-up of some D-loop variants still is conceivable, our hypothesis of a contribution of variation in the exclusively maternally inherited mtDNA to the observed larger correlations for BMI between mothers and their offspring could not be substantiated by the findings of the present study.
PMCID: PMC4008486  PMID: 24788344
4.  Unexpected plateauing of childhood obesity rates in developed countries 
BMC Medicine  2014;12:17.
Surveys performed in the past 10 to 15 years show a yet unexplained stabilization or decline in prevalence rates of childhood obesity in developed countries. The projected continuous increase in obesity prevalence throughout future decades seems not to occur at present. Apparently, saturation has been reached, which might be related to societal adjustments. Hence, we postulate a cumulative effect of public health programs for obesity prevention resulting, for example, in an increase in physical activity, and a decline in television viewing and in the consumption of sugar-sweetened soft drinks by children. Effective public health programs are urgently needed for developing countries, where obesity rates in children still continued to increase during the past decade.
PMCID: PMC3908468  PMID: 24485015
Obesity; Children and adolescents; Extreme obesity; Prevalence; Trend societal and environmental determinants
5.  Medical and psychosocial implications of adolescent extreme obesity – acceptance and effects of structured care, short: Youth with Extreme Obesity Study (YES) 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:789.
Prevalence rates of overweight and obesity have increased in German children and adolescents in the last three decades. Adolescents with extreme obesity represent a distinct risk group. On the basis of data obtained by the German Child and Youth Survey (KiGGS) and the German district military offices we estimate that the group of extremely obese adolescents (BMI ≥ 35 kg/m2) currently encompasses approximately 200.000 adolescents aged 14 to 21 yrs. Conventional approaches focusing on weight reduction have largely proven futile for them. In addition, only a small percentage of adolescents with extreme obesity seek actively treatment for obesity while contributing disproportionately strong to health care costs. Because of somatic and psychiatric co-morbidities and social problems adolescents with extreme obesity require special attention within the medical care system.
We have initiated the project “Medical and psychosocial implications of adolescents with extreme obesity - acceptance and effects of structured care, short: ‘Youths with Extreme Obesity Study (YES)’”, which aims at improving the medical care and social support structures for youths with extreme obesity in Germany.
We focus on identification of these subjects (baseline examination) and their acceptance of diagnostic and subsequent treatment procedures. In a randomized controlled trial (RCT) we will investigate the effectiveness of a low key group intervention not focusing on weight loss but aimed at the provision of obesity related information, alleviation of social isolation, school and vocational integration and improvement of self-esteem in comparison to a control group treated in a conventional way with focus on weight loss. Interested individuals who fulfill current recommended criteria for weight loss surgery will be provided with a structured preparation and follow-up programs. All subjects will be monitored within a long-term observational study to elucidate medical and psychosocial outcomes. Our aim is to evaluate realistic treatment options. Therefore inclusion and exclusion criteria are minimized.
We will recruit adolescents (age range 14–21 years) with extreme obesity (BMI ≥ 35 kg/m2) (extreme group) within 24 months (120 per centre, 5 centres) as well as obese adolescents being at risk for developing extreme obesity (BMI ≥ 30 – 34.9 kg/m2) (at risk group). Follow-up evalutations will be performed biannually after inclusion for several years depending on additional funding. In sum, we aim at establishing evaluated health care structures for extremely obese adolescents.
The results of YES will be of importance for a frequently neglected group of individuals, for whom current medicine has little to offer in terms of structured access to empirically evaluated therapeutic programs. Thus, the results will be both a help for the adolescents within the study and for others in the future given that the trial will lead to a positive finding. Moreover, it will help practitioners and therapists to deal with this neglected group of individuals.
Trial registration
Project registration numbers for each subproject: 1.) NCT01625325, NCT01703273, NCT01662271, NCT01632098; 2.) DRKS00004172, DRKS00004195, DRKS00004198, DRKS00004197.
PMCID: PMC3844338  PMID: 23987123
Adolescents with extreme obesity; Bariatric surgery; Social isolation; School and vocational integration
6.  The Inflammasome-Mediated Caspase-1 Activation Controls Adipocyte Differentiation and Insulin Sensitivity 
Cell metabolism  2010;12(6):593-605.
Obesity-induced inflammation originating from expanding adipose tissue interferes with insulin sensitivity. Important metabolic effects have been recently attributed to IL-1β and IL-18, two members of the IL-1 family of cytokines. Processing of IL-1β and IL-18 requires cleavage by caspase-1, a cysteine protease regulated by a protein complex called the inflammasome. We demonstrate that the inflamma-some/caspase-1 governs adipocyte differentiation and insulin sensitivity. Caspase-1 is upregulated during adipocyte differentiation and directs adipocytes toward a more insulin-resistant phenotype. Treatment of differentiating adipocytes with recombinant IL-1β and IL-18, or blocking their effects by inhibitors, reveals that the effects of caspase-1 on adipocyte differentiation are largely conveyed by IL-1β. Caspase-1 and IL-1β activity in adipose tissue is increased both in diet-induced and genetically induced obese animal models. Conversely, mice deficient in caspase-1 are more insulin sensitive as compared to wild-type animals. In addition, differentiation of preadipocytes isolated from caspase-1−/− or NLRP3−/− mice resulted in more metabolically active fat cells. In vivo, treatment of obese mice with a caspase-1 inhibitor significantly increases their insulin sensitivity. Indirect calorimetry analysis revealed higher fat oxidation rates in caspase-1−/− animals. In conclusion, the inflammasome is an important regulator of adipocyte function and insulin sensitivity, and caspase-1 inhibition may represent a novel therapeutic target in clinical conditions associated with obesity and insulin resistance.
PMCID: PMC3683568  PMID: 21109192
7.  Long-Term Stabilization Effects of Leptin on Brain Functions in a Leptin-Deficient Patient 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(6):e65893.
Congenital leptin deficiency, caused by a very rare mutation in the gene encoding leptin, leads to severe obesity, hyperphagia and impaired satiety. The only systemic treatment is the substitution with metreleptin leading to weight reduction based on hormonal changes. Several studies have also shown alterations in brain function after metreleptin therapy. In a previous study, we were able to show changes in homeostatic (hypothalamus) and reward-related brain areas (striatum, orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), substantia nigra/ventral tegmental area, amygdala) 3 days and 6 months after therapy start in a leptin-deficient adolescent girl. To further access the time course of functional brain activation changes, we followed the patient for 2 years after initiation of the therapy.
Design, Patient
Functional magnetic resonance imaging during visual stimulation with food (high- and low-caloric) and non-food pictures was performed 1 and 2 years after therapy start in the previously described patient.
The comparison of ‘food vs. non-food’ pictures showed a stabilization of the long-term effects in the amygdala and in the OFC. Therefore, no significant differences were observed between 6 months compared to 12 and 24 months in these regions. Additionally, a reduction of the frontopolar cortex activity over the whole time span was observed. For the comparison of high- and low-caloric pictures, long-term effects in the hypothalamus showed an assimilating pattern for the response to the food categories whereas only acute effects after 3 months were observed in hedonic brain regions.
This follow-up study shows that the long lasting benefit of metreleptin therapy is also associated with activation changes in homeostatic, hedonic and frontal control regions in congenital leptin deficiency.
PMCID: PMC3683048  PMID: 23799059
8.  Resveratrol Suppresses PAI-1 Gene Expression in a Human In Vitro Model of Inflamed Adipose Tissue 
Increased plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) levels are associated with a number of pathophysiological complications; among them is obesity. Resveratrol was proposed to improve obesity-related health problems, but the effect of resveratrol on PAI-1 gene expression in obesity is not completely understood. In this study, we used SGBS adipocytes and a model of human adipose tissue inflammation to examine the effects of resveratrol on the production of PAI-1. Treatment of SGBS adipocytes with resveratrol reduced PAI-1 mRNA and protein in a time- and concentration-dependent manner. Further experiments showed that obesity-associated inflammatory conditions lead to the upregulation of PAI-1 gene expression which was antagonized by resveratrol. Although signaling via PI3K, Sirt1, AMPK, ROS, and Nrf2 appeared to play a significant role in the modulation of PAI-1 gene expression under noninflammatory conditions, those signaling components were not involved in mediating the resveratrol effects on PAI-1 production under inflammatory conditions. Instead, we demonstrate that the resveratrol effects on PAI-1 induction under inflammatory conditions were mediated via inhibition of the NFκB pathway. Together, resveratrol can act as NFκB inhibitor in adipocytes and thus the subsequently reduced PAI-1 expression in inflamed adipose tissue might provide a new insight towards novel treatment options of obesity.
PMCID: PMC3684090  PMID: 23819014
9.  Trans-10, cis-12 Conjugated Linoleic Acid Decreases de novo Lipid Synthesis in Human Adipocytes 
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) reduces adiposity in vivo. However, mechanisms mediating these changes are unclear. Therefore, we treated cultures of human adipocytes with trans-10, cis-12 (10,12) CLA, cis-9, trans-11 (9,11) CLA, or other trans fatty acids (FA) and measured indices of lipid metabolism. The lipid-lowering effects of 10,12 CLA were unique, as other trans FA did not reduce TG content to the same extent. Using low levels of [14C]-CLA isomers, it was shown that both isomers were readily incorporated into acylglycerols and phospholipids, albeit at lower levels than [14C]-oleic or [14C]-linoleic acids. When using [14C]-acetic acid and [14C]-pyruvic acid as substrates, 30 μM 10,12 CLA, but not 9,11 CLA, decreased de novo synthesis of triglyceride (TG), free FA, diacylglycerol, cholesterol esters, cardiolipin, phospholipids, and ceramides within 3–24 h. Treatment with 30 μM 10,12 CLA, but not 9,11 CLA, decreased total cellular lipids within 3 d and the ratio of monounsaturated FA (MUFA) to saturated FA, and increased C18:0 acyl-CoA levels within 24 h. Consistent with these data, stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD)-1 mRNA and protein levels were down-regulated by 10,12 CLA within 7–12 h, respectively. The mRNA levels of liver X receptor (LXR)α and sterol regulatory element binding protein (SREBP)-1c, transcription factors that regulate SCD-1, were decreased by 10,12 CLA within 5 h. These data suggest that the isomer-specific decrease in de novo lipid synthesis by 10,12 CLA is due, in part, to the rapid repression of lipogenic transcription factors that regulate MUFA synthesis, suggesting an anti-obesity mechanism unique to this trans FA.
PMCID: PMC3203310  PMID: 21775116
conjugated linoleic acid; adipocytes; lipid synthesis; stearoyl-CoA desaturase
10.  HIV Protease Inhibitors Disrupt Lipid Metabolism by Activating Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress and Inhibiting Autophagy Activity in Adipocytes 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e59514.
HIV protease inhibitors (PI) are core components of Highly Active Antiretroviral Therapy (HAART), the most effective treatment for HIV infection currently available. However, HIV PIs have now been linked to lipodystrophy and dyslipidemia, which are major risk factors for cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome. Our previous studies have shown that HIV PIs activate endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and disrupt lipid metabolism in hepatocytes and macrophages. Yet, little is known on how HIV PIs disrupt lipid metabolism in adipocytes, a major cell type involved in the pathogenesis of metabolic syndrome.
Methodology and Principal Findings
Cultured and primary mouse adipocytes and human adipocytes were used to examine the effect of frequently used HIV PIs in the clinic, lopinavir/ritonavir, on adipocyte differentiation and further identify the underlying molecular mechanism of HIV PI-induced dysregulation of lipid metabolism in adipocytes. The results indicated that lopinavir alone or in combination with ritonavir, significantly activated the ER stress response, inhibited cell differentiation, and induced cell apoptosis in adipocytes. In addition, HIV PI-induced ER stress was closely linked to inhibition of autophagy activity. We also identified through the use of primary adipocytes of CHOP−/− mice that CHOP, the major transcriptional factor of the ER stress signaling pathway, is involved in lopinavir/ritonavir-induced inhibition of cell differentiation in adipocytes. In addition, lopinavir/ritonavir-induced ER stress appears to be associated with inhibition of autophagy activity in adipocytes.
Conclusion and Significance
Activation of ER stress and impairment of autophagy activity are involved in HIV PI-induced dysregulation of lipid metabolism in adipocytes. The key components of ER stress and autophagy signaling pathways are potential therapeutic targets for HIV PI-induced metabolic side effects in HIV patients.
PMCID: PMC3606318  PMID: 23533630
11.  Organized Sports, Overweight, and Physical Fitness in Primary School Children in Germany 
Journal of Obesity  2013;2013:935245.
Physical inactivity is associated with poor physical fitness and increased body weight. This study examined the relationship between participation in organized sports and overweight as well as physical fitness in primary school children in southern Germany. Height, weight, and various components of physical fitness were measured in 995 children (7.6 ± 0.4 years). Sports participation and confounding variables such as migration background, parental education, parental body weight, and parental sports participation were assessed via parent questionnaire. Multiple logistic regression as well as multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) was used to determine associations between physical fitness, participation in organized sports, and body weight. Participation in organized sports less than once a week was prevalent in 29.2%, once or twice in 60.2%, and more often in 10.6% of the children. Overweight was found in 12.4% of the children. Children participating in organized sports more than once per week displayed higher physical fitness and were less likely to be overweight (OR  =  0.52, P < 0.01). Even though causality cannot be established, the facilitation of participation in organized sports may be a crucial aspect in public health efforts addressing the growing problems associated with overweight and obesity.
PMCID: PMC3603420  PMID: 23533728
12.  Interleukin-1β Downregulates RBP4 Secretion in Human Adipocytes 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(2):e57796.
The excessive accumulation of adipose tissue in the obese state is linked to an altered secretion profile of adipocytes, chronic low-grade inflammation and metabolic complications. RBP4 has been implicated in these alterations, especially insulin resistance. The aim of the present study was to determine if a local inflammatory micro-environment in adipose tissue regulates RBP4 expression and secretion.
Human SGBS and primary adipocytes cultured with conditioned media from human THP-1 macrophages were used as an in vitro model for adipose inflammation. Adipocytes were exposed to recombinant TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6 or IL-8. In addition, coexpression of IL-1β and RBP4 was measured in adipose tissue samples from 18 healthy females. RBP4 expression was studied by quantitative PCR and ELISA.
RBP4 mRNA expression and secretion was significantly reduced upon incubation with macrophage-conditioned media in SGBS adipocytes and human primary adipocytes. Out of several factors studied we identified IL-1β as a new factor regulating RBP4. IL-1β significantly downregulated RBP4 mRNA and secretion in a time- and dose-dependent manner. IL-1β mediated its inhibitory effects on RBP4 expression via IL-1 receptor and NF-κB, as incubation with the IL-1 receptor blocking antibody and the NF-κB inhibitors CAPE and SC-514 reversed its effect. Most interestingly, RBP4 mRNA was negatively correlated with IL-1β mRNA in subcutaneous adipose tissue.
Adipose tissue inflammation as found in the obese state might lead to a downregulation in local RBP4 levels. IL-1β was identified as a major factor contributing to the decrease in RBP4. The increase in circulating RBP4 that often precedes the development of systemic insulin resistance is most likely unrelated to inflammatory processes in adipose tissue.
PMCID: PMC3584036  PMID: 23460908
13.  Mutation screen in the GWAS derived obesity gene SH2B1 including functional analyses of detected variants 
BMC Medical Genomics  2012;5:65.
The SH2B1 gene (Src-homology 2B adaptor protein 1 gene) is a solid candidate gene for obesity. Large scale GWAS studies depicted markers in the vicinity of the gene; animal models suggest a potential relevance for human body weight regulation.
We performed a mutation screen for variants in the SH2B1 coding sequence in 95 extremely obese children and adolescents. Detected variants were genotyped in independent childhood and adult study groups (up to 11,406 obese or overweight individuals and 4,568 controls). Functional implications on STAT3 mediated leptin signalling of the detected variants were analyzed in vitro.
We identified two new rare mutations and five known SNPs (rs147094247, rs7498665, rs60604881, rs62037368 and rs62037369) in SH2B1. Mutation g.9483C/T leads to a non-synonymous, non-conservative exchange in the beta (βThr656Ile) and gamma (γPro674Ser) splice variants of SH2B1. It was additionally detected in two of 11,206 (extremely) obese or overweight children, adolescents and adults, but not in 4,506 population-based normal-weight or lean controls. The non-coding mutation g.10182C/A at the 3’ end of SH2B1 was only detected in three obese individuals. For the non-synonymous SNP rs7498665 (Thr484Ala) we observed nominal over-transmission of the previously described risk allele in 705 obesity trios (nominal p = 0.009, OR = 1.23) and an increased frequency of the same allele in 359 cases compared to 429 controls (nominal p = 0.042, OR = 1.23). The obesity risk-alleles at Thr484Ala and βThr656Ile/γPro674Ser had no effect on STAT3 mediated leptin receptor signalling in splice variants β and γ.
The rare coding mutation βThr656Ile/γPro674Ser (g.9483C/T) in SH2B1 was exclusively detected in overweight or obese individuals. Functional analyzes did not reveal impairments in leptin signalling for the mutated SH2B1.
PMCID: PMC3544595  PMID: 23270367
SH2B1; Obesity; BMI; rs7498665; Mutation screen
14.  OSBP-Related Proteins (ORPs) in Human Adipose Depots and Cultured Adipocytes: Evidence for Impacts on the Adipocyte Phenotype 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e45352.
Oxysterol-binding protein (OSBP) homologues, ORPs, are implicated in lipid homeostatic control, vesicle transport, and cell signaling. We analyzed here the quantity of ORP mRNAs in human subcutaneous (s.c.) and visceral adipose depots, as well as in the Simpson-Golabi-Behmel syndrome (SGBS) adipocyte cell model. All of the ORP mRNAs were present in the s.c and visceral adipose tissues, and the two depots shared an almost identical ORP mRNA expression pattern. SGBS adipocytes displayed a similar pattern, suggesting that the adipose tissue ORP expression pattern mainly derives from adipocytes. During SGBS cell adipogenic differentiation, ORP2, ORP3, ORP4, ORP7, and ORP8 mRNAs were down-regulated, while ORP11 was induced. To assess the impacts of ORPs on adipocyte differentiation, ORP3 and ORP8, proteins down-regulated during adipogenesis, were overexpressed in differentiating SGBS adipocytes, while ORP11, a protein induced during adipogenesis, was silenced. ORP8 overexpression resulted in reduced expression of the aP2 mRNA, while down-regulation of adiponectin and aP2 was observed in ORP11 silenced cells. Furthermore, ORP8 overexpression or silencing of ORP11 markedly decreased cellular triglyceride storage. These data identify the patterns of ORP expression in human adipose depots and SGBS adipocytes, and provide the first evidence for a functional impact of ORPs on the adipocyte phenotype.
PMCID: PMC3448648  PMID: 23028956
15.  A case of phace syndrome and acquired hypopituitarism? 
PHACE is a neurocutaneous syndrome associated with: Posterior fossa brain malformations, large “segmental” facial hemangiomas, arterial cerebrovascular-, cardiovascular-, and eye anomalies.
Case vignette
We are reporting a girl with PHACE syndrome. The patient had a congenital right-sided facial hemangioma with plaque-morphology. At age 11 years and 2 months she presented with short stature, markedly decreased growth velocity and signs and symptoms suggestive of hypothyroidism. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the brain revealed complex structural and cerebrovascular arterial anomalies, including an empty sella. Testing of pituitary function revealed multiple pituitary dysfunctions, including absolute growth hormone deficiency, hypogonadotropic hypogonadism, central hypothyroidism, and secondary adrenal insufficiency.
This case suggests the necessity to screen all patients with PHACE syndrome and intracranial malformations for pituitary dysfunction at regular intervals.
PMCID: PMC3408334  PMID: 22747526
PHACE syndrome; Hypopituitarism; Growth hormone deficiency; Central hypothyroidism; Neurocutaneous syndrome
16.  The Tyrphostin Agent AG490 Prevents and Reverses Type 1 Diabetes in NOD Mice 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e36079.
Recent studies in the NOD (non-obese diabetic) mouse model of type 1 diabetes (T1D) support the notion that tyrosine kinase inhibitors have the potential for modulating disease development. However, the therapeutic effects of AG490 on the development of T1D are unknown.
Materials and Methods
Female NOD mice were treated with AG490 (i.p, 1 mg/mouse) or DMSO starting at either 4 or 8 week of age, for five consecutive week, then once per week for 5 additional week. Analyses for the development and/or reversal of diabetes, insulitis, adoptive transfer, and other mechanistic studies were performed.
AG490 significantly inhibited the development of T1D (p = 0.02, p = 0.005; at two different time points). Monotherapy of newly diagnosed diabetic NOD mice with AG490 markedly resulted in disease remission in treated animals (n = 23) in comparision to the absolute inability (0%; 0/10, p = 0.003, Log-rank test) of DMSO and sustained eugluycemia was maintained for several months following drug withdrawal. Interestingly, adoptive transfer of splenocytes from AG490 treated NOD mice failed to transfer diabetes to recipient NOD.Scid mice. CD4 T-cells as well as bone marrow derived dendritic cells (BMDCs) from AG490 treated mice, showed higher expression of Foxp3 (p<0.004) and lower expression of co-stimulatory molecules, respectively. Screening of the mouse immune response gene arrary indicates that expression of costimulaotry molecule Ctla4 was upregulated in CD4+ T-cell in NOD mice treated with AG490, suggesting that AG490 is not a negative regulator of the immune system.
The use of such agents, given their extensive safety profiles, provides a strong foundation for their translation to humans with or at increased risk for the disease.
PMCID: PMC3351395  PMID: 22615750
17.  Gestational Weight Gain and Body Mass Index in Children: Results from Three German Cohort Studies 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e33205.
Previous studies suggested potential priming effects of gestational weight gain (GWG) on offspring’s body composition in later life. However, consistency of these effects in normal weight, overweight and obese mothers is less clear.
We combined the individual data of three German cohorts and assessed associations of total and excessive GWG (as defined by criteria of the Institute of Medicine) with offspring’s mean body mass index (BMI) standard deviation scores (SDS) and overweight at the age of 5–6 years (total: n = 6,254). Quantile regression was used to examine potentially different effects on different parts of the BMI SDS distribution. All models were adjusted for birth weight, maternal age and maternal smoking during pregnancy and stratified by maternal pre-pregnancy weight status.
In adjusted models, positive associations of total and excessive GWG with mean BMI SDS and overweight were observed only in children of non- overweight mothers. For example, excessive GWG was associated with a mean increase of 0.08 (95% CI: 0.01, 0.15) units of BMI SDS (0.13 (0.02, 0.24) kg/m2 of ‘real’ BMI) in children of normal-weight mothers. The effects of total and excessive GWG on BMI SDS increased for higher- BMI children of normal-weight mothers.
Increased GWG is likely to be associated with overweight in offspring of non-overweight mothers.
PMCID: PMC3310864  PMID: 22457745
18.  Identification of Hypoxia-Induced Genes in Human SGBS Adipocytes by Microarray Analysis 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(10):e26465.
Hypoxia in adipose tissue is suggested to be involved in the development of a chronic mild inflammation, which in obesity can further lead to insulin resistance. The effect of hypoxia on gene expression in adipocytes appears to play a central role in this inflammatory response observed in obesity. However, the global impact of hypoxia on transcriptional changes in human adipocytes is unclear. Therefore, we compared gene expression profiles of human Simpson-Golabi-Behmel syndrome (SGBS) adipocytes under normoxic or hypoxic conditions to detect hypoxia-responsive genes in adipocytes by using whole human genome microarrays. Microarray analysis showed more than 500 significantly differentially regulated mRNAs after incubation of the cells under low oxygen levels. To gain further insight into the biological processes, hypoxia-regulated genes after 16 hours of hypoxia were classified according to their function. We identified an enrichment of genes involved in important biological processes such as glycolysis, response to hypoxia, regulation of cellular component movement, response to nutrient levels, regulation of cell migration, and transcription regulator activity. Real-time PCR confirmed eight genes to be consistently upregulated in response to 3, 6 and 16 hours of hypoxia. For adipocytes the hypoxia-induced regulation of these genes is shown here for the first time. Moreover in six of these eight genes we identified HIF response elements in the proximal promoters, specific for the HIF transcription factor family members HIF1A and HIF2A. In the present study, we demonstrated that hypoxia has an extensive effect on gene expression of SGBS adipocytes. In addition, the identified hypoxia-regulated genes are likely involved in the regulation of obesity, the incidence of type 2 diabetes, and the metabolic syndrome.
PMCID: PMC3198480  PMID: 22039494
19.  Pro-Inflammatory CD11c+CD206+ Adipose Tissue Macrophages Are Associated With Insulin Resistance in Human Obesity 
Diabetes  2010;59(7):1648-1656.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC2889764  PMID: 20357360
20.  Allele-Specific, Age-Dependent and BMI-Associated DNA Methylation of Human MCHR1 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(5):e17711.
Melanin-concentrating hormone receptor 1 (MCHR1) plays a significant role in regulation of energy balance, food intake, physical activity and body weight in humans and rodents. Several association studies for human obesity showed contrary results concerning the SNPs rs133072 (G/A) and rs133073 (T/C), which localize to the first exon of MCHR1. The variations constitute two main haplotypes (GT, AC). Both SNPs affect CpG dinucleotides, whereby each haplotype contains a potential methylation site at one of the two SNP positions. In addition, 15 CpGs in close vicinity of these SNPs constitute a weak CpG island. Here, we studied whether DNA methylation in this sequence context may contribute to population- and age-specific effects of MCHR1 alleles in obesity.
Principal Findings
We analyzed DNA methylation of a 315 bp region of MCHR1 encompassing rs133072 and rs133073 and the CpG island in blood samples of 49 individuals by bisulfite sequencing. The AC haplotype shows a significantly higher methylation level than the GT haplotype. This allele-specific methylation is age-dependent. In young individuals (20–30 years) the difference in DNA methylation between haplotypes is significant; whereas in individuals older than 60 years it is not detectable. Interestingly, the GT allele shows a decrease in methylation status with increasing BMI, whereas the methylation of the AC allele is not associated with this phenotype. Heterozygous lymphoblastoid cell lines show the same pattern of allele-specific DNA methylation. The cell line, which exhibits the highest difference in methylation levels between both haplotypes, also shows allele-specific transcription of MCHR1, which can be abolished by treatment with the DNA methylase inhibitor 5-aza-2′-deoxycytidine.
We show that DNA methylation at MCHR1 is allele-specific, age-dependent, BMI-associated and affects transcription. Conceivably, this epigenetic regulation contributes to the age- and/or population specific effects reported for MCHR1 in several human obesity studies.
PMCID: PMC3102661  PMID: 21637341
21.  Association analyses of 249,796 individuals reveal eighteen new loci associated with body mass index 
Speliotes, Elizabeth K. | Willer, Cristen J. | Berndt, Sonja I. | Monda, Keri L. | Thorleifsson, Gudmar | Jackson, Anne U. | Allen, Hana Lango | Lindgren, Cecilia M. | Luan, Jian’an | Mägi, Reedik | Randall, Joshua C. | Vedantam, Sailaja | Winkler, Thomas W. | Qi, Lu | Workalemahu, Tsegaselassie | Heid, Iris M. | Steinthorsdottir, Valgerdur | Stringham, Heather M. | Weedon, Michael N. | Wheeler, Eleanor | Wood, Andrew R. | Ferreira, Teresa | Weyant, Robert J. | Segré, Ayellet V. | Estrada, Karol | Liang, Liming | Nemesh, James | Park, Ju-Hyun | Gustafsson, Stefan | Kilpeläinen, Tuomas O. | Yang, Jian | Bouatia-Naji, Nabila | Esko, Tõnu | Feitosa, Mary F. | Kutalik, Zoltán | Mangino, Massimo | Raychaudhuri, Soumya | Scherag, Andre | Smith, Albert Vernon | Welch, Ryan | Zhao, Jing Hua | Aben, Katja K. | Absher, Devin M. | Amin, Najaf | Dixon, Anna L. | Fisher, Eva | Glazer, Nicole L. | Goddard, Michael E. | Heard-Costa, Nancy L. | Hoesel, Volker | Hottenga, Jouke-Jan | Johansson, Åsa | Johnson, Toby | Ketkar, Shamika | Lamina, Claudia | Li, Shengxu | Moffatt, Miriam F. | Myers, Richard H. | Narisu, Narisu | Perry, John R.B. | Peters, Marjolein J. | Preuss, Michael | Ripatti, Samuli | Rivadeneira, Fernando | Sandholt, Camilla | Scott, Laura J. | Timpson, Nicholas J. | Tyrer, Jonathan P. | van Wingerden, Sophie | Watanabe, Richard M. | White, Charles C. | Wiklund, Fredrik | Barlassina, Christina | Chasman, Daniel I. | Cooper, Matthew N. | Jansson, John-Olov | Lawrence, Robert W. | Pellikka, Niina | Prokopenko, Inga | Shi, Jianxin | Thiering, Elisabeth | Alavere, Helene | Alibrandi, Maria T. S. | Almgren, Peter | Arnold, Alice M. | Aspelund, Thor | Atwood, Larry D. | Balkau, Beverley | Balmforth, Anthony J. | Bennett, Amanda J. | Ben-Shlomo, Yoav | Bergman, Richard N. | Bergmann, Sven | Biebermann, Heike | Blakemore, Alexandra I.F. | Boes, Tanja | Bonnycastle, Lori L. | Bornstein, Stefan R. | Brown, Morris J. | Buchanan, Thomas A. | Busonero, Fabio | Campbell, Harry | Cappuccio, Francesco P. | Cavalcanti-Proença, Christine | Chen, Yii-Der Ida | Chen, Chih-Mei | Chines, Peter S. | Clarke, Robert | Coin, Lachlan | Connell, John | Day, Ian N.M. | Heijer, Martin den | Duan, Jubao | Ebrahim, Shah | Elliott, Paul | Elosua, Roberto | Eiriksdottir, Gudny | Erdos, Michael R. | Eriksson, Johan G. | Facheris, Maurizio F. | Felix, Stephan B. | Fischer-Posovszky, Pamela | Folsom, Aaron R. | Friedrich, Nele | Freimer, Nelson B. | Fu, Mao | Gaget, Stefan | Gejman, Pablo V. | Geus, Eco J.C. | Gieger, Christian | Gjesing, Anette P. | Goel, Anuj | Goyette, Philippe | Grallert, Harald | Gräßler, Jürgen | Greenawalt, Danielle M. | Groves, Christopher J. | Gudnason, Vilmundur | Guiducci, Candace | Hartikainen, Anna-Liisa | Hassanali, Neelam | Hall, Alistair S. | Havulinna, Aki S. | Hayward, Caroline | Heath, Andrew C. | Hengstenberg, Christian | Hicks, Andrew A. | Hinney, Anke | Hofman, Albert | Homuth, Georg | Hui, Jennie | Igl, Wilmar | Iribarren, Carlos | Isomaa, Bo | Jacobs, Kevin B. | Jarick, Ivonne | Jewell, Elizabeth | John, Ulrich | Jørgensen, Torben | Jousilahti, Pekka | Jula, Antti | Kaakinen, Marika | Kajantie, Eero | Kaplan, Lee M. | Kathiresan, Sekar | Kettunen, Johannes | Kinnunen, Leena | Knowles, Joshua W. | Kolcic, Ivana | König, Inke R. | Koskinen, Seppo | Kovacs, Peter | Kuusisto, Johanna | Kraft, Peter | Kvaløy, Kirsti | Laitinen, Jaana | Lantieri, Olivier | Lanzani, Chiara | Launer, Lenore J. | Lecoeur, Cecile | Lehtimäki, Terho | Lettre, Guillaume | Liu, Jianjun | Lokki, Marja-Liisa | Lorentzon, Mattias | Luben, Robert N. | Ludwig, Barbara | Manunta, Paolo | Marek, Diana | Marre, Michel | Martin, Nicholas G. | McArdle, Wendy L. | McCarthy, Anne | McKnight, Barbara | Meitinger, Thomas | Melander, Olle | Meyre, David | Midthjell, Kristian | Montgomery, Grant W. | Morken, Mario A. | Morris, Andrew P. | Mulic, Rosanda | Ngwa, Julius S. | Nelis, Mari | Neville, Matt J. | Nyholt, Dale R. | O’Donnell, Christopher J. | O’Rahilly, Stephen | Ong, Ken K. | Oostra, Ben | Paré, Guillaume | Parker, Alex N. | Perola, Markus | Pichler, Irene | Pietiläinen, Kirsi H. | Platou, Carl G.P. | Polasek, Ozren | Pouta, Anneli | Rafelt, Suzanne | Raitakari, Olli | Rayner, Nigel W. | Ridderstråle, Martin | Rief, Winfried | Ruokonen, Aimo | Robertson, Neil R. | Rzehak, Peter | Salomaa, Veikko | Sanders, Alan R. | Sandhu, Manjinder S. | Sanna, Serena | Saramies, Jouko | Savolainen, Markku J. | Scherag, Susann | Schipf, Sabine | Schreiber, Stefan | Schunkert, Heribert | Silander, Kaisa | Sinisalo, Juha | Siscovick, David S. | Smit, Jan H. | Soranzo, Nicole | Sovio, Ulla | Stephens, Jonathan | Surakka, Ida | Swift, Amy J. | Tammesoo, Mari-Liis | Tardif, Jean-Claude | Teder-Laving, Maris | Teslovich, Tanya M. | Thompson, John R. | Thomson, Brian | Tönjes, Anke | Tuomi, Tiinamaija | van Meurs, Joyce B.J. | van Ommen, Gert-Jan | Vatin, Vincent | Viikari, Jorma | Visvikis-Siest, Sophie | Vitart, Veronique | Vogel, Carla I. G. | Voight, Benjamin F. | Waite, Lindsay L. | Wallaschofski, Henri | Walters, G. Bragi | Widen, Elisabeth | Wiegand, Susanna | Wild, Sarah H. | Willemsen, Gonneke | Witte, Daniel R. | Witteman, Jacqueline C. | Xu, Jianfeng | Zhang, Qunyuan | Zgaga, Lina | Ziegler, Andreas | Zitting, Paavo | Beilby, John P. | Farooqi, I. Sadaf | Hebebrand, Johannes | Huikuri, Heikki V. | James, Alan L. | Kähönen, Mika | Levinson, Douglas F. | Macciardi, Fabio | Nieminen, Markku S. | Ohlsson, Claes | Palmer, Lyle J. | Ridker, Paul M. | Stumvoll, Michael | Beckmann, Jacques S. | Boeing, Heiner | Boerwinkle, Eric | Boomsma, Dorret I. | Caulfield, Mark J. | Chanock, Stephen J. | Collins, Francis S. | Cupples, L. Adrienne | Smith, George Davey | Erdmann, Jeanette | Froguel, Philippe | Grönberg, Henrik | Gyllensten, Ulf | Hall, Per | Hansen, Torben | Harris, Tamara B. | Hattersley, Andrew T. | Hayes, Richard B. | Heinrich, Joachim | Hu, Frank B. | Hveem, Kristian | Illig, Thomas | Jarvelin, Marjo-Riitta | Kaprio, Jaakko | Karpe, Fredrik | Khaw, Kay-Tee | Kiemeney, Lambertus A. | Krude, Heiko | Laakso, Markku | Lawlor, Debbie A. | Metspalu, Andres | Munroe, Patricia B. | Ouwehand, Willem H. | Pedersen, Oluf | Penninx, Brenda W. | Peters, Annette | Pramstaller, Peter P. | Quertermous, Thomas | Reinehr, Thomas | Rissanen, Aila | Rudan, Igor | Samani, Nilesh J. | Schwarz, Peter E.H. | Shuldiner, Alan R. | Spector, Timothy D. | Tuomilehto, Jaakko | Uda, Manuela | Uitterlinden, André | Valle, Timo T. | Wabitsch, Martin | Waeber, Gérard | Wareham, Nicholas J. | Watkins, Hugh | Wilson, James F. | Wright, Alan F. | Zillikens, M. Carola | Chatterjee, Nilanjan | McCarroll, Steven A. | Purcell, Shaun | Schadt, Eric E. | Visscher, Peter M. | Assimes, Themistocles L. | Borecki, Ingrid B. | Deloukas, Panos | Fox, Caroline S. | Groop, Leif C. | Haritunians, Talin | Hunter, David J. | Kaplan, Robert C. | Mohlke, Karen L. | O’Connell, Jeffrey R. | Peltonen, Leena | Schlessinger, David | Strachan, David P. | van Duijn, Cornelia M. | Wichmann, H.-Erich | Frayling, Timothy M. | Thorsteinsdottir, Unnur | Abecasis, Gonçalo R. | Barroso, Inês | Boehnke, Michael | Stefansson, Kari | North, Kari E. | McCarthy, Mark I. | Hirschhorn, Joel N. | Ingelsson, Erik | Loos, Ruth J.F.
Nature genetics  2010;42(11):937-948.
Obesity is globally prevalent and highly heritable, but the underlying genetic factors remain largely elusive. To identify genetic loci for obesity-susceptibility, we examined associations between body mass index (BMI) and ~2.8 million SNPs in up to 123,865 individuals, with targeted follow-up of 42 SNPs in up to 125,931 additional individuals. We confirmed 14 known obesity-susceptibility loci and identified 18 new loci associated with BMI (P<5×10−8), one of which includes a copy number variant near GPRC5B. Some loci (MC4R, POMC, SH2B1, BDNF) map near key hypothalamic regulators of energy balance, and one is near GIPR, an incretin receptor. Furthermore, genes in other newly-associated loci may provide novel insights into human body weight regulation.
PMCID: PMC3014648  PMID: 20935630
22.  Reorganization of the nuclear lamina and cytoskeleton in adipogenesis 
Histochemistry and Cell Biology  2011;135(3):251-261.
A thorough understanding of fat cell biology is necessary to counter the epidemic of obesity. Although molecular pathways governing adipogenesis are well delineated, the structure of the nuclear lamina and nuclear-cytoskeleton junction in this process are not. The identification of the ‘linker of nucleus and cytoskeleton’ (LINC) complex made us consider a role for the nuclear lamina in adipose conversion. We herein focused on the structure of the nuclear lamina and its coupling to the vimentin network, which forms a cage-like structure surrounding individual lipid droplets in mature adipocytes. Analysis of a mouse and human model system for fat cell differentiation showed fragmentation of the nuclear lamina and subsequent loss of lamins A, C, B1 and emerin at the nuclear rim, which coincides with reorganization of the nesprin-3/plectin/vimentin complex into a network lining lipid droplets. Upon 18 days of fat cell differentiation, the fraction of adipocytes expressing lamins A, C and B1 at the nuclear rim increased, though overall lamin A/C protein levels were low. Lamin B2 remained at the nuclear rim throughout fat cell differentiation. Light and electron microscopy of a subcutaneous adipose tissue specimen showed striking indentations of the nucleus by lipid droplets, suggestive for an increased plasticity of the nucleus due to profound reorganization of the cellular infrastructure. This dynamic reorganization of the nuclear lamina in adipogenesis is an important finding that may open up new venues for research in and treatment of obesity and nuclear lamina-associated lipodystrophy.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00418-011-0792-4) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3052499  PMID: 21350821
LINC; Fat; Lamin; Adipose tissue; Nesprin-3; Vimentin
23.  Differential Effect of Saturated and Unsaturated Free Fatty Acids on the Generation of Monocyte Adhesion and Chemotactic Factors by Adipocytes 
Diabetes  2009;59(2):386-396.
Obesity is associated with monocyte-macrophage accumulation in adipose tissue. Previously, we showed that glucose-stimulated production by adipocytes of serum amyloid A (SAA), monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1, and hyaluronan (HA) facilitated monocyte accumulation. The current objective was to determine how the other major nutrient, free fatty acids (FFAs), affects these molecules and monocyte recruitment by adipocytes.
Differentiated 3T3-L1, Simpson-Golabi-Behmel syndrome adipocytes, and mouse embryonic fibroblasts were exposed to various FFAs (250 μmol/l) in either 5 or 25 mmol/l (high) glucose for evaluation of SAA, MCP-1, and HA regulation in vitro.
Saturated fatty acids (SFAs) such as laurate, myristate, and palmitate increased cellular triglyceride accumulation, SAA, and MCP-1 expression; generated reactive oxygen species (ROS); and increased nuclear factor (NF) κB translocation in both 5 and 25 mmol/l glucose. Conversely, polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) such as arachidonate, eicosapentaenate, and docosahexaenate (DHA) decreased these events. Gene expression could be dissociated from triglyceride accumulation. Although excess glucose increased HA content, SFAs, oleate, and linoleate did not. Antioxidant treatment repressed glucose- and palmitate-stimulated ROS generation and NFκB translocation and decreased SAA and MCP-1 expression and monocyte chemotaxis. Silencing toll-like receptor-4 (TLR4) markedly reduced SAA and MCP-1 expression in response to palmitate but not glucose. DHA suppressed NFκB translocation stimulated by both excess glucose and palmitate via a peroxisome prolifterator–activated receptor (PPAR) γ–dependent pathway.
Excess glucose and SFAs regulate chemotactic factor expression by a mechanism that involves ROS generation, NFκB, and PPARγ, and which is repressed by PUFAs. Certain SFAs, but not excess glucose, trigger chemotactic factor expression via a TLR4-dependent pathway.
PMCID: PMC2809975  PMID: 19934003
24.  THP-1 Macrophages and SGBS Adipocytes – A New Human in vitro Model System of Inflamed Adipose Tissue 
Obesity is associated with an accumulation of macrophages in adipose tissue. This inflammation of adipose tissue is a key event in the pathogenesis of several obesity-related disorders, particularly insulin resistance. Here, we summarized existing model systems that mimic the situation of inflamed adipose tissue in vitro, most of them being murine. Importantly, we introduce our newly established human model system which combines the THP-1 monocytic cell line and the preadipocyte cell strain Simpson–Golabi–Behmel syndrome (SGBS). THP-1 cells, which originate from an acute monocytic leukemia, differentiate easily into macrophages in vitro. The human preadipocyte cell strain SGBS was recently introduced as a unique tool to study human fat cell functions. SGBS cells are characterized by a high capacity for adipogenic differentiation. SGBS adipocytes are capable of fat cell-specific metabolic functions such as insulin-stimulated glucose uptake, insulin-stimulated de novo lipogenesis and β-adrenergic-stimulated lipolysis and they secrete typical adipokines including leptin, adiponectin, and RBP4. Applying either macrophage-conditioned medium or a direct co-culture of macrophages and fat cells, our model system can be used to distinguish between paracrine and cell-contact dependent effects. In conclusion, we propose this model as a useful tool to study adipose inflammation in vitro. It represents an inexpensive, highly reproducible human system. The methods described here can be easily extended for usage of primary human macrophages and fat cells.
PMCID: PMC3355855  PMID: 22645513
adipose tissue inflammation; SGBS; macrophages; adipocytes
25.  Time-Resolved Expression Profiling of the Nuclear Receptor Superfamily in Human Adipogenesis 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(9):e12991.
The differentiation of fibroblast-like pre-adipocytes to lipid-loaded adipocytes is regulated by a network of transcription factors, the most prominent one being the nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) γ. However, many of the other 47 members of the nuclear receptor superfamily have an impact on adipogenesis, which in human cells has not been investigated in detail.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We analyzed by quantitative PCR all human nuclear receptors at multiple time points during differentiation of SGBS pre-adipocytes. The earliest effect was the down-regulation of the genes RARG, PPARD, REV-ERBA, REV-ERBB, VDR and GR followed by the up-regulation of PPARG, LXRA and AR. These observations are supported with data from 3T3-L1 mouse pre-adipocytes and primary human adipocytes. Investigation of the effects of the individual differentiation mix components in short-term treatments and of their omission from the full mix showed that the expression levels of the early-regulated nuclear receptor genes were most affected by the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) ligand cortisol and the phosophodiesterase inhibitor IBMX. Interestingly, the effects of both compounds converged to repress the genes PPARD, REV-ERBA, REV-ERBB, VDR and GR, whereas cortisol and IBMX showed antagonistic interaction for PPARG, LXRA and AR causing a time lag in their up-regulation. We hypothesize that the well-known auto-repression of GR fine-tunes the detected early responses. Consistently, chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments showed that GR association increased on the transcription start sites of the genes RARG, REV-ERBB, VDR and GR.
Adipocyte differentiation is a process, in which many members of the nuclear receptor superfamily change their mRNA expression. The actions of cortisol and IBMX converged to repress several nuclear receptors early in differentiation, while up-regulation of other nuclear receptor genes showed a time lag due to antagonisms of the signals. Our results place GR and its ligand cortisol as central regulatory factors controlling early regulatory events in human adipogenesis that precedes the regulation of the later events by PPARG.
PMCID: PMC2946337  PMID: 20885999

Results 1-25 (26)