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Horm Metab Res. 2002 Nov-Dec;34(11-12):650-4.

Differences in adiponectin protein expression: effect of fat depots and type 2 diabetic status.

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  • 1Division of Medical Sciences, Medicine, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK.


Adiponectin is an adipocyte-derived hormone associated with insulin sensitivity and atherosclerotic risk. As central rather than gluteofemoral fat is known to increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, we investigated the mRNA and protein expression of adiponectin in human adipose tissue depots. RNA was extracted from 46 human adipose tissue samples from non-diabetic subjects aged 44.33 +/- 12.4 with a BMI of 28.3 +/- 6.0 (mean +/- SD). The samples were as follows: 21 abdominal subcutaneous, 13 omentum, 6 thigh; samples were also taken from diabetic subjects aged 66.6 +/- 7.5 with BMI 28.9 +/- 3.17; samples were: 6 abdominal subcutaneous; 3 thigh. Quantitative PCR and Western analysis was used to determine adiponectin content. Protein content studies determined that when compared with non-diabetic abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue (Abd Sc AT) (values expressed as percentage relative to Abd Sc AT -100 %). Adiponectin protein content was significantly lower in non-diabetic omental AT (25 +/- 1.6 %; p < 0.0001, n = 6) and in Abd Sc AT from diabetic subjects (36 +/- 1.5 %; p < 0.0001, n = 4). In contrast, gluteal fat maintained high adiponectin protein content from non-diabetic patients compared with diabetic patients. An increase in BMI was associated with lower adiponectin protein content in obese ND Abd Sc AT (25 +/- 0.4 %; p < 0.0001). These findings were in agreement with the mRNA expression data. In summary, this study indicates that adiponectin protein content in non-diabetic subjects remains high in abdominal subcutaneous fat, including gluteal fat, explaining the high serum adiponectin levels in these subjects. Omental fat, however, expresses little adiponectin. Furthermore, abdominal and gluteal subcutaneous fat appears to express significantly less adiponectin once diabetic status is reached. In conclusion, the adipose tissue depot-specific expression of adiponectin may influence the pattern of serum adiponectin concentrations and subsequent disease risk.

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