Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

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


The aim of the present work was to study whether the leptin-adiponectin axis may have a pathophysiological role in the increased systemic inflammation and oxidative stress observed in patients with the metabolic syndrome (MS). Leptin, adiponectin, and markers of inflammation and oxidative stress were measured in a sample of 140 Caucasian subjects (74 males/66 females), aged 28-82 years, 60 with and 80 without the MS. Total concentrations of adiponectin as well as its multimeric forms HMW, MMW and LMW were significantly lower in individuals with the MS. The ratio adiponectin/leptin, a marker of dysfunctional adipose tissue, was dramatically decreased in the MS group. Systemic oxidative stress, as evidenced by levels of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), as well as markers of inflammation such as serum amyloid A (SAA), C-reactive protein (CRP) and osteopontin were significantly increased in subjects with the MS. Total adiponectin concentrations were negatively correlated with levels of TBARS and CRP levels. Furthermore, the ratio adiponectin/leptin was negatively correlated with SAA concentrations as well as with CRP levels. We concluded that a dysfunctional adipose tissue as suggested by a low adiponectin/leptin ratio may contribute to the increased oxidative stress and inflammation, hallmarks of the MS.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Obesity, Oxidative stress, Adipose tissue, C-reactive protein, Acute-phase protein, 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


Increasing the thermogenic capacity of adipose tissue to enhance organismal energy expenditure is considered a promising therapeutic strategy to combat obesity. Here, we report that expression of the p38 MAPK activator MKK6 is elevated in white adipose tissue of obese individuals. Using knockout animals and shRNA, we show that Mkk6 deletion increases energy expenditure and thermogenic capacity of white adipose tissue, protecting mice against diet-induced obesity and the development of diabetes. Deletion of Mkk6 increases T3-stimulated UCP1 expression in adipocytes, thereby increasing their thermogenic capacity. Mechanistically, we demonstrate that, in white adipose tissue, p38 is activated by an alternative pathway involving AMPK, TAK, and TAB. Our results identify MKK6 in adipocytes as a potential therapeutic target to reduce obesity.Brown and beige adipose tissues dissipate heat via uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1). Here the authors show that the stress activated kinase MKK6 acts as a repressor of UCP1 expression, suggesting that its inhibition promotes adipose tissue browning and increases organismal energy expenditure.

Concepts: Gene expression, Obesity, Insulin resistance, Adipose tissue, Tissues, Thermogenesis, Adiponectin, Uncoupling protein


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