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Concept: Adipocyte


Background Genomewide association studies can be used to identify disease-relevant genomic regions, but interpretation of the data is challenging. The FTO region harbors the strongest genetic association with obesity, yet the mechanistic basis of this association remains elusive. Methods We examined epigenomic data, allelic activity, motif conservation, regulator expression, and gene coexpression patterns, with the aim of dissecting the regulatory circuitry and mechanistic basis of the association between the FTO region and obesity. We validated our predictions with the use of directed perturbations in samples from patients and from mice and with endogenous CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing in samples from patients. Results Our data indicate that the FTO allele associated with obesity represses mitochondrial thermogenesis in adipocyte precursor cells in a tissue-autonomous manner. The rs1421085 T-to-C single-nucleotide variant disrupts a conserved motif for the ARID5B repressor, which leads to derepression of a potent preadipocyte enhancer and a doubling of IRX3 and IRX5 expression during early adipocyte differentiation. This results in a cell-autonomous developmental shift from energy-dissipating beige (brite) adipocytes to energy-storing white adipocytes, with a reduction in mitochondrial thermogenesis by a factor of 5, as well as an increase in lipid storage. Inhibition of Irx3 in adipose tissue in mice reduced body weight and increased energy dissipation without a change in physical activity or appetite. Knockdown of IRX3 or IRX5 in primary adipocytes from participants with the risk allele restored thermogenesis, increasing it by a factor of 7, and overexpression of these genes had the opposite effect in adipocytes from nonrisk-allele carriers. Repair of the ARID5B motif by CRISPR-Cas9 editing of rs1421085 in primary adipocytes from a patient with the risk allele restored IRX3 and IRX5 repression, activated browning expression programs, and restored thermogenesis, increasing it by a factor of 7. Conclusions Our results point to a pathway for adipocyte thermogenesis regulation involving ARID5B, rs1421085, IRX3, and IRX5, which, when manipulated, had pronounced pro-obesity and anti-obesity effects. (Funded by the German Research Center for Environmental Health and others.).

Concepts: DNA, Gene, Genetics, Gene expression, Obesity, Adipose tissue, Adipocyte, Resistin


To assess the predictive capacity of a recently described equation that we have termed CUN-BAE (Clínica Universidad de Navarra-Body Adiposity Estimator) based on BMI, sex, and age for estimating body fat percentage (BF%) and to study its clinical usefulness.

Concepts: Nutrition, Death, Fat, Adipose tissue, Body mass index, Body fat percentage, Adipocyte, Dieting


Brown adipose tissue has gained interest as a potential target to treat obesity and metabolic diseases. Irisin is a newly identified hormone secreted from skeletal muscle enhancing browning of white fat cells, which improves systemic metabolism by increasing energy expenditure in mice. The discovery of irisin raised expectations of its therapeutic potential to treat metabolic diseases. However, the effect of irisin in humans is unclear. Analyses of genomic DNA, mRNA and expressed sequence tags revealed that FNDC5, the gene encoding the precursor of irisin, is present in rodents and most primates, but shows in humans a mutation in the conserved start codon ATG to ATA. HEK293 cells transfected with a human FNDC5 construct with ATA as start codon resulted in only 1% full-length protein compared to human FNDC5 with ATG. Additionally, in vitro contraction of primary human myotubes by electrical pulse stimulation induced a significant increase in PGC1α mRNA expression. However, FNDC5 mRNA level was not altered. FNDC5 mRNA expression in muscle biopsies from two different human exercise studies was not changed by endurance or strength training. Preadipocytes isolated from human subcutaneous adipose tissue exhibited differentiation to brite human adipocytes when incubated with bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) 7, but neither recombinant FNDC5 nor irisin were effective. In conclusion, our findings suggest that it is rather unlikely that the beneficial effect of irisin observed in mice can be translated to humans.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Gene expression, Metabolism, Muscle, Adipose tissue, Adipocyte, White adipose tissue


As an important factor affecting meat quality, intramuscular fat (IMF) content is a topic of worldwide concern. Emerging evidences indicate that microRNAs play important roles in adipocyte differentiation. However, miRNAome has neither been studied during porcine intramuscular preadipocyte differentiation, nor compared with subcutaneous preadipocytes. The objectives of this study were to identify porcine miRNAs involved in adipogenesis in primary preadipocytes, and to determine whether intramuscular and subcutaneous adipocytes differ in the expression and regulation of miRNAs.

Concepts: Gene expression, Mesenchymal stem cell, Cytoplasm, Cellular differentiation, Fat, Adipose tissue, Adipocyte


Brown adipose tissue (BAT) has attracted considerable research interest because of its therapeutic potential to treat obesity and associated metabolic diseases. Augmentation of brown fat mass and/or its function may represent an attractive strategy to enhance energy expenditure. Using high-throughput phenotypic screening to induce brown adipocyte reprogramming in committed myoblasts, we identified a retinoid X receptor (RXR) agonist, bexarotene (Bex), that efficiently converted myoblasts into brown adipocyte-like cells. Bex-treated mice exhibited enlarged BAT mass, enhanced BAT function, and a modest browning effect in subcutaneous white adipose tissue (WAT). Expression analysis showed that Bex initiated several “browning” pathways at an early stage during brown adipocyte reprogramming. Our findings suggest RXRs as new master regulators that control brown and beige fat development and activation, unlike the common adipogenic regulator PPARγ. Moreover, we demonstrated that selective RXR activation may potentially offer a therapeutic approach to manipulate brown/beige fat function in vivo.

Concepts: Protein, Metabolism, Fat, Adipose tissue, Tissues, Adipocyte, Brown adipose tissue, White adipose tissue


Gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) of 21 nm have been previously well characterized for their capacity to target macrophages via active uptake. However, the short-term impact of such AuNPs on physiological systems, in particular resident macrophages located in fat tissue , is largely unknown. This project investigated the distribution, organ toxicity and changes in inflammatory cytokines within the adipose tissue after mice were exposed to AuNPs.

Concepts: In vivo, Fat, Adipose tissue, Adipocyte, Dieting, Integumentary system, Adipokine


Activity-guided isolation of a methanolic extract of Galla Rhois using pancreatic lipase and 3T3-L1 adipocytes led to the isolation of seven phenolic compounds: protoaphin-fb (1), 2-O-digalloyl-1,3,4,6-tetra-O-galloyl-b-D-glucose (2), 1,2,3,4,6-penta-O-galloyl-b-D-glucose (3), 1,2,4,6-tetra-O-galloyl-b-D-glucose (4), 3-hydroxy-5-methoxy-phenol 1-O-b-D-glucoside (5), methylgallate (6), and gallic acid (7). Their structures were established on the basis of NMR and MS spectroscopic data interpretation. All isolates were evaluated for their inhibitory effects on pancreatic lipase, and compounds 1-5 exhibited potent inhibitory effects on this enzyme, with IC50 values ranging from 30.6 ± 2.4 to 3.5 ± 0.5 mM. In addition, the highly galloylated compound 2 was also found to induce potent inhibition of adipocyte differentiation in 3T3-L1 cells.

Concepts: Enzyme, Pancreas, Cytoplasm, Fat, Adipocyte, Lipase, Gallic acid, Pancreatic lipase


Composite biological and synthetic grafts with progenitor cells offer an alternative approach to auto- or allografts for fracture repair. This study aimed to evaluate osteogenesis of autologous serum-derived albumin (ASA) scaffolds seeded with canine adipose tissue-derived mesenchymal stem cells (Ad-MSCs) in a canine segmental bone defect model. ASA scaffold was prepared with canine serum using cross-linking and freeze-drying procedures. Beta-tricalcium phosphate (β-TCP) was mixed at the cross-linking stage. Ad-MSCs were seeded into the scaffold and incubated for a day before implantation. After 16 weeks, the grafts were harvested for histological analysis. The dogs were divided into five groups: control, ASA scaffolds with and without Ad-MSCs, and ASA scaffolds including β-TCP with and without Ad-MSCs. ASA scaffolds with Ad-MSCs had significantly larger area of increased opacity at the proximal and distal host cortex-implant interfaces in radiographs 16 weeks after implantation compared to the groups with β-TCP (p < 0.05). Histomorphometric analysis showed that ASA scaffolds with Ad-MSCs had significantly more new bone formation than other groups (p < 0.05). These results suggest that Ad-MSCs seeded into ASA scaffolds enhanced osteogenesis in the bone defect model but β-TCP in the ASA scaffold might prevent penetration of the cells required for bone healing.

Concepts: Stem cell, Mesenchymal stem cell, Bone marrow, Stem cells, Adipocyte, Endochondral ossification



Treatment of esophageal disease can necessitate resection and reconstruction of the esophagus. Current reconstruction approaches are limited to utilization of an autologous conduit such as stomach, small bowel, or colon. A tissue engineered construct providing an alternative for esophageal replacement in circumferential, full thickness resection would have significant clinical applications. In the current study, we demonstrate that regeneration of esophageal tissue is feasible and reproducible in a large animal model using synthetic polyurethane electro-spun grafts seeded with autologous adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (aMSCs) and a disposable bioreactor. The scaffolds were not incorporated into the regrown esophageal tissue and were retrieved endoscopically. Animals underwent adipose tissue biopsy to harvest and expand autologous aMSCs for seeding on electro-spun polyurethane conduits in a bioreactor. Anesthetized pigs underwent full thickness circumferential resection of the mid-lower thoracic esophagus followed by implantation of the cell seeded scaffold. Results from these animals showed gradual structural regrowth of endogenous esophageal tissue, including squamous esophageal mucosa, submucosa, and smooth muscle layers with blood vessel formation. Scaffolds carrying autologous adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells may provide an alternative to the use of a gastro-intestinal conduit for some patients following resection of the esophagus.

Concepts: Stem cell, Mesenchymal stem cell, Bone marrow, Muscle, Stomach, Smooth muscle, Adipocyte, Esophagus