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Mediators Inflamm. 2012;2012:972629. doi: 10.1155/2012/972629. Epub 2012 Dec 17.

4-1BB/4-1BBL interaction promotes obesity-induced adipose inflammation by triggering bidirectional inflammatory signaling in adipocytes/macrophages.

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  • 1Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Ulsan, Ulsan, Republic of Korea.


Obesity-induced adipose inflammation is characterized by recruitment of macrophages to adipose tissue and release of inflammatory cytokines. 4-1BB, a costimulatory receptor, modulates inflammatory processes through interaction with its ligand 4-1BBL on immune cell surfaces. In this study, we examined whether a 4-1BB/4-1BBL interaction between adipocytes and macrophages participates in obesity-induced adipose inflammation. We found that 4-1BB was expressed on adipocytes and was upregulated by obesity-related factors, which also enhanced 4-1BBL expression on macrophages. 4-1BB and/or 4-1BBL agonists, respectively, activated inflammatory signaling molecules (MAPK/IκBα and MAPK/Akt) in adipocytes and macrophages and enhanced the release of inflammatory cytokines (MCP-1, TNF-α, and IL-6). Moreover, disruption of the 4-1BB/4-1BBL interaction decreased the release of inflammatory cytokines from contact cocultured adipocytes/macrophages. These findings indicate that 4-1BB/4-1BBL-mediated bidirectional signaling in adipocytes/macrophages promotes adipose inflammation. 4-1BB and 4-1BBL may be useful targets for protection against obesity-induced adipose inflammation.

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