35 posts

Warming Induces Significant Reprogramming of Beige, but Not Brown, Adipocyte Cellular Identity

Roh HC, Tsai LTY, Shao M, Tenen D, Shen Y, Kumari M, Lyubetskaya A, Jacobs C, Dawes B, Gupta RK, Rosen ED

Beige and brown adipocytes generate heat in response to reductions in ambient temperature. When warmed, both beige and brown adipocytes exhibit morphological “whitening,” but it is unknown whether or to what extent this represents a true shift in cellular identity. Using cell-type-specific profiling in vivo, we uncover a unique paradigm of temperature-dependent epigenomic plasticity of beige, but not brown, adipocytes, with conversion from a brown to a white chromatin state. Despite this profound shift in cellular identity, warm whitened beige adipocytes retain an epigenomic memory of prior cold exposure defined by an array of poised enhancers that prime thermogenic genes for rapid response during a second bout of cold exposure. We further show that a transcriptional cascade involving glucocorticoid receptor and Zfp423 can drive warm-induced whitening of beige adipocytes. These studies identify the epigenomic and transcriptional bases of an extraordinary example of cellular plasticity in response to environmental signals.

Cell Metab. 2018 May 1;27(5):1121-1137.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2018.03.005. Epub 2018 Apr 12



The Synergy between Palmitate and TNF-α for CCL2 Production Is Dependent on the TRIF/IRF3 Pathway: Implications for Metabolic Inflammation

Ahmad R, Al-Roub A, Kochumon S, Akther N, Thomas R, Kumari M, Koshy MS, Tiss A, Hannun YA, Tuomilehto J, Sindhu S, Rosen ED.

The chemokine CCL2 (also known as MCP-1) is a key regulator of monocyte infiltration into adipose tissue, which plays a central role in the pathophysiology of obesity-associated inflammation and insulin resistance. It remains unclear how CCL2 production is upregulated in obese humans and rodents. Because elevated levels of the free fatty acid (FFA) palmitate and TNF-α have been reported in obesity, we studied whether these agents interact to trigger CCL2 production. Our data show that treatment of THP-1 and primary human monocytic cells with palmitate and TNF-α led to a marked increase in CCL2 production compared with either treatment alone. Mechanistically, we found that cooperative production of CCL2 by palmitate and TNF-α did not require MyD88, but it was attenuated by blocking TLR4 or TRIF. IRF3-deficient cells did not show synergistic CCL2 production in response to palmitate/TNF-α. Moreover, IRF3 activation by polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid augmented TNF-α-induced CCL2 secretion. Interestingly, elevated NF-κB/AP-1 activity resulting from palmitate/TNF-α costimulation was attenuated by TRIF/IRF3 inhibition. Diet-induced C57BL/6 obese mice with high FFAs levels showed a strong correlation between TNF-α and CCL2 in plasma and adipose tissue and, as expected, also showed increased adipose tissue macrophage accumulation compared with lean mice. Similar results were observed in the adipose tissue samples from obese humans. Overall, our findings support a model in which elevated FFAs in obesity create a milieu for TNF-α to trigger CCL2 production via the TLR4/TRIF/IRF3 signaling cascade, representing a potential contribution of FFAs to metabolic inflammation.

J Immunol. 2018 May 15;200(10):3599-3611. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1701552. Epub 2018 Apr 9



Adipocyte glucocorticoid receptor is important in lipolysis and insulin resistance due to exogenous steroids, but not insulin resistance caused by high fat feeding

Shen Y, Roh HC, Kumari M, Rosen ED.

OBJECTIVE: The critical role of adipose tissue in energy and nutrient homeostasis is influenced by many external factors, including overnutrition, inflammation, and exogenous hormones. Prior studies have suggested that glucocorticoids (GCs) in particular are major drivers of physiological and pathophysiological changes in adipocytes. In order to determine whether these effects directly require the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) within adipocytes, we generated adipocyte-specific GR knockout (AGRKO) mice.

METHODS: AGRKO and control mice were fed chow or high fat diet (HFD) for 14 weeks. Alternatively, AGRKO and control mice were injected with dexamethasone for two months. Glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity, adiposity, lipolysis, thermogenesis, and insulin signaling were assessed.

RESULTS: We find that obesity, insulin resistance, and dysglycemia associated with high fat feeding do not require an intact GR in the adipocyte. However, exogenous dexamethasone (Dex) promotes metabolic dysfunction in mice, and this effect is reduced in mice lacking GR in adipocytes. The ability of Dex to promote “whitening” of brown fat is also reduced in these animals. We also show that GR is required for β-adrenergic and cold stimulation-mediated lipolysis via expression of the key lipolytic enzyme ATGL.

CONCLUSIONS: Our data suggest that the GR plays a role in normal adipose physiology via effects on lipolysis and mediates at least some of the adverse effects of exogenous steroids on metabolic function. The data also indicate that intra-adipocyte GR plays less of a role than previously believed in the local and systemic pathology associated with overnutrition.

Mol Metab. 2017 Oct;6(10):1150-1160. doi: 10.1016/j.molmet.2017.06.013. Epub 2017 Jun 29