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Cell Immunol. 2009;258(2):138-46. doi: 10.1016/j.cellimm.2009.04.003. Epub 2009 May 6.

PPAR gamma is highly expressed in F4/80(hi) adipose tissue macrophages and dampens adipose-tissue inflammation.

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  • 1Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, 24061, United States.


Macrophage infiltration into adipose tissue is a hallmark of obesity. We recently reported two phenotypically distinct subsets of adipose tissue macrophages (ATM) based on the surface expression of the glycoprotein F4/80 and responsiveness to treatment with a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) gamma agonist. Hence, we hypothesized that F4/80(hi) and F4/80(lo) ATM differentially express PPAR gamma. This study phenotypically and functionally characterizes F4/80(hi) and F4/80(lo) ATM subsets during obesity. Changes in gene expression were also examined on sorted F4/80(lo) and F4/80(hi) ATM by quantitative real-time RT-PCR. We show that while F4/80(lo) macrophages predominate in adipose tissue of lean mice, obesity causes accumulation of both F4/80(lo) and F4/80(hi) ATM. Moreover, accumulation of F4/80(hi) ATM in adipose tissue is associated with impaired glucose tolerance. Phenotypically, F4/80(hi) ATM express greater amounts of CD11c, MHC II, CD49b, and CX3CR1 and produce more TNF-alpha, MCP-1, and IL-10 than F4/80(lo) ATM. Gene expression analyses of the sorted populations revealed that only the F4/80(lo) population produced IL-4, whereas the F4/80(hi) ATM expressed greater amounts of PPAR gamma, delta, CD36 and toll-like receptor-4. In addition, the deficiency of PPAR gamma in immune cells favors expression of M1 and impairs M2 macrophage marker expression in adipose tissue. Thus, PPAR gamma is differentially expressed in F4/80(hi) versus F4/80(low) ATM subsets and its deficiency favors a predominance of M1 markers in WAT.

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