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J Endocrinol Invest. 2007 Sep;30(8):RC17-21.

Insulin differentially modulates the peripheral endocannabinoid system in human subcutaneous abdominal adipose tissue from lean and obese individuals.

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The Lundberg Laboratory for Diabetes Research, Center of Excellence for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research, Department of Molecular and Clinical Medicine/Diabetes, The Sahlgrenska Academy at Göteborg University, Göteborg, Sweden.


Human obesity has been associated with a dysregulation of the peripheral and adipose tissue (AT) endocannabinoid system (ES). The aim of this study was to elucidate the acute in vivo effects of insulin on gene expression of the cannabinoid type 1 (CB-1) and type 2 (CB-2) receptors, as well as of the fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) in the sc abdominal adipose tissue (SCAAT). Nine lean (L) and 9 obese (OB), but otherwise healthy males were studied in the fasting state and during a euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp (40 mU/m2 * min(-1)). SCAAT biopsies were obtained at baseline and after 270 min of i.v. maintained hyperinsulinemia. The basal SCAAT gene expression pattern revealed an upregulation of the FAAH in the OB (p=0.03 vs L), whereas similar CB-1 and CB-2 mRNA levels were seen. Following hyperinsulinemia, the FAAH mRNA levels significantly increased approximately 2-fold in the L (p=0.01 vs baseline) but not in the OB. In contrast, insulin failed to significantly change both the adipose CB-1 and CB-2 gene expression. Finally, the FAAH gene expression positively correlated with the fasting serum insulin concentration (r 0.66; p=0.01), whereas an inverse association with the whole-body glucose disposal (r -0.58; p<0.05) was seen. Taken together, these first time observations demonstrate that the ES-related genes in the SCAAT differentially respond to hyperinsulinemia in lean/insulin-sensitive and in obese/insulin-resistant individuals. We suggest that insulin may play a key role in the obesity-linked dysregulation of the adipose ES at the gene level.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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