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FASEB J. 2014 Mar;28(3):1071-81. doi: 10.1096/fj.13-234419. Epub 2013 Nov 21.

Human omental and subcutaneous adipose tissue exhibit specific lipidomic signatures.

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  • 11Section of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Nutrition, Hospital of Girona "Dr Josep Trueta," Carretera de França s/n, 17007, Girona, Spain. jmfreal@idibgi.org.


Despite their differential effects on human metabolic pathophysiology, the differences in omental and subcutaneous lipidomes are largely unknown. To explore this field, liquid chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry was used for lipidome analyses of adipose tissue samples (visceral and subcutaneous) selected from a group of obese subjects (n=38). Transcriptomics and in vitro studies in adipocytes were used to confirm the pathways affected by location. The analyses revealed the existence of obesity-related specific lipidome signatures in each of these locations, attributed to selective enrichment of specific triglycerides, glycerophospholipids, and sphingolipids, because these were not observed in adipose tissues from nonobese individuals. The changes were compatible with subcutaneous enrichment in pathways involved in adipogenesis, triacylglyceride synthesis, and lipid droplet formation, as well as increased α-oxidation. Marked differences between omental and subcutaneous depots in obese individuals were seen in the association of lipid species with metabolic traits (body mass index and insulin sensitivity). Targeted studies also revealed increased cholesterol (Δ56%) and cholesterol epoxide (Δ34%) concentrations in omental adipose tissue. In view of the effects of cholesterol epoxide, which induced enhanced expression of adipocyte differentiation and α-oxidation genes in human omental adipocytes, a novel role for cholesterol epoxide as a signaling molecule for differentiation is proposed. In summary, in obesity, adipose tissue exhibits a location-specific differential lipid profile that may contribute to explaining part of its distinct pathogenic role.


insulin resistance; metabolism; systems biology

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