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Pflugers Arch. 2006 Jul;452(4):418-27. Epub 2006 Apr 4.

Acute and prolonged effects of TNF-alpha on the expression and secretion of inflammation-related adipokines by human adipocytes differentiated in culture.

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Obesity Biology Unit, Liverpool Centre for Nutritional Genomics and Liverpool Obesity Research Network, School of Clinical Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool L69 3GA, UK.


The pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-alpha has multiple effects on adipocyte function, including the production of adipokines. In this paper, we have examined the acute vs prolonged effects of TNF-alpha on the expression and secretion of key inflammation-related adipokines by human adipocytes. Adipocytes differentiated in culture were treated with TNF-alpha for 1-24 h, mRNA quantitated by real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and secreted adipokines by ELISA. Treatment of adipocytes with TNF-alpha for up to 24 h had little effect on MIF, MT-2 and PAI-1 mRNA levels. TNF-alpha decreased adiponectin, adipsin, haptoglobin and leptin mRNA levels by 24 h, but adiponectin and haptoglobin mRNA was initially increased. In contrast, TNF-alpha induced rapid and substantial increases in expression of the genes encoding IL-6, MCP-1, NGF and TNF-alpha itself; IL-6 and TNF-alpha mRNA levels peaked at 2 h with 75-fold and 600-fold increases, respectively. The elevated MCP-1, NGF and VEGF mRNA levels were sustained between 4 and 24 h. The adipokine secretion pattern largely paralleled cellular mRNA levels; IL-6 (transiently), MCP-1, NGF and VEGF release were stimulated by TNF-alpha, with an accelerating rate of MCP-1 secretion over 24 h. TNF-alpha has rapid and substantial effects on the synthesis of key inflammation-related adipokines in human adipocytes, with highly gene-specific responses.

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