Aims/hypothesis Adipose tissue (AT) distribution is a major determinant of mortality and morbidity in obesity. In mice, intra-abdominal transplantation of subcutaneous AT (SAT) protects against glucose intolerance and insulin resistance (IR), but the underlying mechanisms are not well understood.
Methods We investigated changes in adipokines, tissue-specific glucose uptake, gene expression and systemic inflammation in male C57BL6/J mice implanted intra-abdominally with either inguinal SAT or epididymal visceral AT (VAT) and fed a high-fat diet (HFD) for up to 17 weeks.
Results Glucose tolerance was improved in mice receiving SAT after 6 weeks, and this was not attributable to differences in adiposity, tissue-specific glucose uptake, or plasma leptin or adiponectin concentrations. Instead, SAT transplantation prevented HFD-induced hepatic triacylglycerol accumulation and normalised the expression of hepatic gluconeogenic enzymes. Grafted fat displayed a significant increase in glucose uptake and unexpectedly, an induction of skeletal muscle-specific gene expression. Mice receiving subcutaneous fat also displayed a marked reduction in the plasma concentrations of several proinflammatory cytokines (TNF-α, IL-17, IL-12p70, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 [MCP-1] and macrophage inflammatory protein-1β [ΜIP-1β]), compared with sham-operated mice. Plasma IL-17 and MIP-1β concentrations were reduced from as early as 4 weeks after transplantation, and differences in plasma TNF-α and IL-17 concentrations predicted glucose tolerance and insulinaemia in the entire cohort of mice (n = 40). In contrast, mice receiving visceral fat transplants were glucose intolerant, with increased hepatic triacylglycerol content and elevated plasma IL-6 concentrations.
Conclusions/interpretation Intra-abdominal transplantation of subcutaneous fat reverses HFD-induced glucose intolerance, hepatic triacylglycerol accumulation and systemic inflammation in mice.
- Adipose tissue
- Body fat distribution
- Fatty liver
- Glucose intolerance
- Insulin resistance
- Intra-abdominal fat
- Subcutaneous fat