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Cytokine. 2006 Dec;36(5-6):261-6. Epub 2007 Mar 26.

Transplantation of wild-type white adipose tissue normalizes metabolic, immune and inflammatory alterations in leptin-deficient ob/ob mice.

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  • 1Department of Human Nutrition, University of Illinois at Chicago, 1919 W. Taylor Street M/C517, Chicago, IL 60612, USA.


Leptin-deficient ob/ob mice exhibit several metabolic and immune abnormalities, including thymus atrophy and markedly reduced inflammatory responses. We evaluated whether transplantation of wild-type (WT) white adipose tissue (WAT) into ob/ob mice could mimic the effect of recombinant leptin administration in normalizing metabolic, immune and inflammatory abnormalities. Female ob/ob mice received a subcutaneous transplantation of WAT obtained from WT littermates. A separate group of ob/ob mice was sham-operated. Despite raising leptin levels to only 15% of those observed in WT mice, WAT transplantation normalized metabolic abnormalities (glycemia, ALT, liver weight) in ob/ob mice and prevented further body weight gain. The transplanted group demonstrated normalization of thymus and spleen cellularity, thymocyte subpopulations and rates of thymocyte apoptosis. In the model of dextran sulfate sodium-induced colitis, WAT transplantation restored inflammation to levels equivalent to those of WT mice. Colonic production of IL-6 and MIP-2 was markedly reduced in the non-transplanted ob/ob group compared to transplanted ob/ob and WT mice. Our data indicate that WAT transplantation is an effective way to normalize metabolic as well as immune and inflammatory parameters in ob/ob mice. The threshold of leptin sufficient to normalize metabolic, immune and inflammatory function is significantly lower than levels present in lean WT mice. Finally, leptin derived exclusively from WAT is sufficient to normalize metabolic, immune and inflammatory parameters in ob/ob mice.

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