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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2009 Apr;17(4):648-56. doi: 10.1038/oby.2008.607. Epub 2009 Jan 15.

Innate immunity and adipocyte function: ligand-specific activation of multiple Toll-like receptors modulates cytokine, adipokine, and chemokine secretion in adipocytes.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine I, Regensburg University Hospital, Regensburg, Germany.


The aim of this study was to analyze Toll-like receptor (TLR) expression in preadipocytes and mature adipocytes and to investigate whether TLR ligands influence the release of cytokines, chemokines, and adipokines. Murine 3T3-L1 preadipocytes and mature adipocytes were used for stimulation experiments. The effects of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), flagellin, Poly (U), Poly (I:C), macrophage-activating lipopeptide-2 (MALP2), Pam3Cys, and CpG on the release of interleukin-6 (IL-6), resistin, and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1) were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Nuclear translocation and promoter binding of NFkappaB were analyzed by electrophoretic mobility shift assays. TLR expression was investigated by reverse-transcriptase (RT-PCR). All TLRs except TLR5 and TRL7 are expressed in the stromal vascular cell (SVC) fraction and in mature adipocytes of different fat stores. Whereas basal and LPS-induced IL-6 release is higher in preadipocytes, basal and LPS-induced MCP-1 release is higher in mature adipocytes. Mature adipocytes respond to corticosterone regarding MCP-1 and resistin release. The ligands for TLRs influence IL-6, MCP-1, and resistin release differentially. Some of these ligands induce nuclear translocation and promoter binding of NFkappaB. Besides TLR5, that is not expressed in mature adipocytes, all TLR family members are involved. There exists a functional TRL pathway in adipocytes that connects innate immunity with adipocyte function. As a consequence, the role of the adipose tissue in both immunity and metabolism has to be investigated in future studies. The results of this approach will help to explain the metabolic changes such as insulin resistance observed during infection and the immunological phenomena such as macrophage infiltration of adipose tissue seen in obesity.

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