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Concept: Adiponectin


Thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue (BAT) is fundamental to energy balance and is also relevant for humans. Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) regulate adipogenesis, and, here, we describe a role for BMP8B in the direct regulation of thermogenesis. BMP8B is induced by nutritional and thermogenic factors in mature BAT, increasing the response to noradrenaline through enhanced p38MAPK/CREB signaling and increased lipase activity. Bmp8b(-/-) mice exhibit impaired thermogenesis and reduced metabolic rate, causing weight gain despite hypophagia. BMP8B is also expressed in the hypothalamus, and Bmp8b(-/-) mice display altered neuropeptide levels and reduced phosphorylation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), indicating an anorexigenic state. Central BMP8B treatment increased sympathetic activation of BAT, dependent on the status of AMPK in key hypothalamic nuclei. Our results indicate that BMP8B is a thermogenic protein that regulates energy balance in partnership with hypothalamic AMPK. BMP8B may offer a mechanism to specifically increase energy dissipation by BAT.

Concepts: Signal transduction, Metabolism, Adenosine triphosphate, Enzyme, Leptin, Brown adipose tissue, Bone morphogenetic protein, Adiponectin


A disproportionate amount of body fat within the abdominal cavity, otherwise known as visceral obesity, best predicts the negative health outcomes associated with high levels body fat. Growing evidence suggests that repeated activation of the stress response can favor visceral fat deposition and that visceral obesity may induce low-grade, systemic inflammation which is etiologically linked to the pathogenesis of obesity related diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. While the obesity epidemic has fueled considerable interest in these obesity-related inflammatory diseases, surprisingly little research is currently focused on understanding the functions of inflammatory proteins in healthy, non-obese white adipose tissue (WAT) and their possible role in modulating stress-induced shifts in body fat distribution.

Concepts: Inflammation, Obesity, Insulin resistance, Adipose tissue, Weight loss, Dieting, Brown adipose tissue, Adiponectin


Obesity impairs the relaxant capacity of adipose tissue surrounding the vasculature (PVAT) and has been implicated in resultant obesity-related hypertension and impaired glucose intolerance. Resident immune cells are thought to regulate adipocyte activity. We investigated the role of eosinophils in mediating normal PVAT function. Healthy PVAT elicits an anti-contractile effect, which was lost in mice deficient in eosinophils, mimicking the obese phenotype, and was restored upon eosinophil reconstitution. Ex vivo studies demonstrated that the loss of PVAT function was due to reduced bioavailability of adiponectin and adipocyte-derived nitric oxide, which was restored after eosinophil reconstitution. Mechanistic studies demonstrated that adiponectin and nitric oxide are released after activation of adipocyte-expressed β3 adrenoceptors by catecholamines, and identified eosinophils as a novel source of these mediators. We conclude that adipose tissue eosinophils play a key role in the regulation of normal PVAT anti-contractile function.

Concepts: Immune system, Nutrition, Obesity, Overweight, In vivo, Adipose tissue, Weight loss, Adiponectin


In men, obesity and the metabolic syndrome are accompanied by decreased testosterone levels, but little is known about the associations between visceral adipose tissue (VAT), VAT-related inflammation and sex steroids.

Concepts: Obesity, Insulin resistance, Adipose tissue, Testosterone, Estradiol, Cytochrome P450, Steroid, Adiponectin



OBJECTIVETo study expression of the recently-identified adipokine dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP4) in subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) and visceral adipose tissue (VAT) of patients with various BMIs and insulin sensitivities, as well as to assess circulating DPP4 in relation to obesity and insulin sensitivity.RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODSDPP4 expression was measured in SAT and VAT from 196 subjects with a wide range of BMIs and insulin sensitivities. DPP4 release was measured ex vivo in paired biopsies from SAT and VAT as well as in vivo from SAT of lean and obese patients. Circulating DPP4 was measured in insulin-sensitive and insulin-resistant BMI-matched obese patients.RESULTSDPP4 expression was positively correlated with BMI in both SAT and VAT, with VAT consistently displaying higher expression than SAT. Ex vivo release of DPP4 from adipose tissue explants was higher in VAT than in SAT in both lean and obese patients, with obese patients displaying higher DPP4 release than lean controls. Net release of DPP4 from adipose tissue was also demonstrated in vivo with greater release in obese subjects than in lean subjects and in women than in men. Insulin-sensitive obese patients had significantly lower circulating DPP4 than did obesity-matched insulin-resistant patients. In this experiment, DPP4 positively correlated with the amount of VAT, adipocyte size, and adipose tissue inflammation.CONCLUSIONSDPP4, a novel adipokine, has a higher release from VAT that is particularly pronounced in obese and insulin-resistant patients. Our data suggest that DPP4 may be a marker for visceral obesity, insulin resistance, and the metabolic syndrome.

Concepts: Insulin, Diabetes mellitus, Obesity, Insulin resistance, Adipose tissue, Metabolic syndrome, In vitro, Adiponectin


Prunetin is an O-methylated isoflavone, which is a type of flavonoid. There are a limited number of reports detailing the biological activities of prunetin. Although an anti-inflammatory effect of prunetin has been reported in vitro, to our knowledge, there have been no reports on anti-adipogenic effects of prunetin in obese animals. The aims of this study were to determine whether prunetin suppresses high-fat diet (HFD)-induced adipogenesis in the liver and visceral adipose tissues of mice, and to explore the underlying mechanisms mediating the actions of prunetin. To this end, mice were fed a HFD for 10 weeks to induce obesity, and prunetin (10μg/kg or 20μg/kg) was administered in the last 3 weeks. Compared to saline-treated mice, mice treated with prunetin showed significantly reduced body weight gain, visceral fat pad weights, and plasma glucose levels. We found that prunetin significantly inhibited the HFD-induced upregulation of the expression of important adipogenic genes (PPARγ, C/EBPα, SREBP, aP2, LPL adiponectin, and leptin), and suppressed HFD-mediated increase in expression of lipid metabolism-related genes (SREBP, PPARγ, LXR, and HMG-CoA) in the liver tissues. Furthermore, prunetin induced expression of adiponectin receptors 1 and 2 (adipoR1, adipoR2), as well as that of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) in the liver and adipose tissue. These results suggest that prunetin mediates anti-obesity/adipogenesis effects by suppressing obesity-related transcription through a feedback mechanism that regulates the expression of adiponectin, adipoR1, adipoR2, and AMPK.

Concepts: Protein, Gene, Adenosine triphosphate, Obesity, Liver, Fat, Adipose tissue, Adiponectin


PURPOSE OF REVIEW: To highlight the potential importance of advanced glycation endproducts (AGEs) and advanced-lipoxidation endproducts (ALEs) in obesity and obesity-related complications, and the contribution of the receptor for advanced glycation endproducts (RAGE) and the glyoxylase defense system therein. RECENT FINDINGS: Formation of AGEs/ALEs and its precursors, including methylglyoxal (MGO), are increased in conditions characterized by hyperglycemia, hyperlipidemia and enhanced oxidative stress. This metabolic profile is generally considered typical for obesity. Increased plasma and/or tissue levels of MGO and of specific AGEs/ALEs, such as N-(carboxymethyl)lysine (CML), in obesity have recently been described. In addition to increased formation, the suppressed defense system in obesity against AGEs/ALEs formation, that is, the glyoxylase system, will further contribute to AGEs/ALEs formation in obesity. AGEs/ALEs are not inert. In-vitro studies showed that AGEs induced the production of inflammatory mediators in adipocytes and macrophages via RAGE activation, which may subsequently contribute to the development of obesity-related complications. SUMMARY: The recognition of an enhanced AGEs/ALEs formation in adipose tissue and the biological consequences thereof may lead to a further understanding of underlying mechanisms in dysregulated production of adipokines in obesity.

Concepts: Inflammation, Obesity, Overweight, Adipose tissue, Adipocyte, Adipose derived hormones, Adipokine, Adiponectin


Fibrosis is emerging as a hallmark of metabolically dysregulated white adipose tissue (WAT) in obesity. Although adipose tissue fibrosis impairs adipocyte plasticity, little is known about how aberrant extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling of WAT is initiated during the development of obesity. Here we show that treatment with the anti-diabetic drug metformin inhibits excessive ECM deposition in WAT of ob/ob mice and diet-induced obese mice, as evidenced by decreased collagen deposition surrounding adipocytes and expression of fibrotic genes including the collagen cross-linking regulator LOX. Inhibition of interstitial fibrosis by metformin is likely attributed to activation of AMPK and suppression of transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1)/Smad3 signaling, leading to enhanced systemic insulin sensitivity. The ability of metformin to repress TGF-β1-induced fibrogenesis is abolished by the dominant negative AMPK in primary cells from the stromal vascular fraction. TGF-β1-induced insulin resistance is suppressed by AMPK agonists and the constitutively active AMPK in 3T3L1 adipocytes. In omental fat depots of obese humans, interstitial fibrosis is also associated with AMPK inactivation, TGF-β1/Smad3 induction, aberrant ECM production, myofibroblast activation, and adipocyte apoptosis. Collectively, integrated AMPK activation and TGF-β1/Smad3 inhibition may provide a potential therapeutic approach to maintain ECM flexibility and combat chronically uncontrolled adipose tissue expansion in obesity.

Concepts: Insulin, Diabetes mellitus type 2, Diabetes mellitus, Obesity, Insulin resistance, Adipose tissue, Metformin, Adiponectin


SerpinA12 (vaspin) is thought to be mainly expressed in adipose tissue and has multiple beneficial effects on metabolic, inflammatory and atherogenic processes related to obesity. Kallikrein 7 (KLK7) is the only known protease target of vaspin to date and is inhibited with a moderate inhibition rate. In the crystal structure, the cleavage site (P1-P1') of the vaspin reactive center loop is fairly rigid compared to the flexible residues before P2, possibly supported by an ionic interaction of P1' glutamate (Glu(379)) with an arginine residue (Arg(302)) of the β-sheet C. A P1' glutamate seems highly unusual and unfavorable for the protease KLK7. We characterized vaspin mutants to investigate the roles of these two residues in protease inhibition and recognition by vaspin. RCL mutations changing the P1' residue or altering RCL conformation significantly increased inhibition parameters while removal of the positive charge within β-sheet C impeded the serpin-protease interaction. Arg(302) is a crucial contact to enable vaspin recognition by KLK7 and it supports moderate inhibition of the serpin despite the presence of the detrimental P1' Glu(379), which clearly represents a major limiting factor for vaspin inhibitory activity. We also show that the vaspin inhibition rate for KLK7 can be modestly increased by heparin and demonstrate that vaspin is a heparin-binding serpin. Noteworthy, we observed vaspin as a remarkably thermostable serpin and found residues Glu(379) and Arg(302) influencing heat-induced polymerization. These structural and functional results reveal the mechanistic basis of how reactive center loop sequence and exosite interaction in vaspin enable KLK7 recognition and regulate protease inhibition as well as stability of this adipose tissue derived serpin.

Concepts: Amino acid, Obesity, Insulin resistance, Adipose tissue, Ionic bond, Mineralogy, Adiponectin, Antithrombin