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Diabetologia. 2001 Mar;44(3):377-86.

Effect of dexamethasone on adipocyte differentiation markers and tumour necrosis factor-alpha expression in human PAZ6 cells.

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Institute Cochin of Molecular Genetics, Paris, France.



Adipose tissue-derived tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) has been implicated in the insulin resistance observed in animal models of obesity. Moreover, TNF-alpha has inhibitory effects on adipocyte differentiation. Glucocorticoids play important roles in the regulation of insulin sensitivity and adipose tissue distribution. We therefore studied the effect of dexamethasone on TNF-alpha expression and adipocyte differentiation in human PAZ6 cells.


The expression of TNF-alpha and adipocyte differentiation markers was assessed by reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction in PAZ6 cells.


In cells cultured for 15 days in the presence of dexamethasone, adipocyte differentiation marker expression was higher and TNF-alpha expression was lower than in cells cultured in the absence of dexamethasone. The presence of dexamethasone was necessary during the whole period of differentiation because removal of dexamethasone during the second week resulted in poorly differentiated adipocytes that express higher levels of TNF-alpha. Dexamethasone also reduced TNF-alpha expression during early stages of differentiation. The use of a TNF-alpha-neutralising antibody showed, however, that endogenously-produced TNF-alpha did not play an important part in the control of PAZ6 cell differentiation. During early stages of adipocyte differentiation, dexamethasone induced the expression of the transcription factors PPAR gamma (peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma) and C/EBP alpha (CCAAT/enhancer binding protein alpha) while inhibiting the expression of the inhibitor of DNA binding Id2.


The effect of dexamethasone on human adipocyte differentiation is not mediated by reduction of TNF-alpha expression but more likely by regulation of the expression of nuclear factors such as PPAR gamma, CEBP alpha and Id2.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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