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Exp Cell Res. 2006 Jul 15;312(12):2195-202. Epub 2006 May 2.

Weight-dependent changes of immune system in adipose tissue: importance of leptin.

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  • 1UMR 5018 CNRS-UPS, IFR 31, CHU Rangueil, TSA 50032, 31059 Toulouse Cedex 9, France.


Ancestral lymphoid cells reside in adipose tissues, and their numbers are highly altered in obesity. Leptin, production of which is correlated to fat mass, is strongly involved in the relationships between adipose tissues and immune system. We investigated in epididymal (EPI) and inguinal (ING) fat pads to determine whether 1) lymphocyte phenotypes were correlated to the tissue weight and 2) leptin was involved in such relationships. Immunohistological analyses revealed a tight relationship between the T and NK lymphocytes of the stromal vascular fraction and adipocytes. We identified a significant negative and positive correlation between EPI weight and the percentage of NK and total T cells respectively by cytofluorometric analyses. The NK and ancestral gammadelta T cell contents were directly dependent of leptin since they increased significantly in high-fat (HF) diet mice but not in leptin-deficient (ob/ob) mice as compared to control. By contrast, the alphabeta T cell content seemed independent of leptin because their percentages increased significantly with the EPI weight whatever the type of mice (control, HF, ob/ob). The present study suggests that adipose tissues present, according to their localization, different immunological mechanisms that might be involved in the regulation of adipose cells functions and proliferations.

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