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J Lipid Res. 2012 Dec;53(12):2797-805. doi: 10.1194/jlr.D031286. Epub 2012 Aug 21.

Mitigation of isolation-associated adipocyte interleukin-6 secretion following rapid dissociation of adipose tissue.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA.


Primary adipocyte isolation by collagenase digestion is a widely used technique to study metabolic regulation and insulin action in adipocytes. However, induction of a proinflammatory response characterized by enhanced secretion of interleukin (IL)-6 has been tightly linked to the isolation process itself. To test the hypothesis that the shaking mechanical force exerted on adipocytes stimulates inflammation during isolation, rat primary adipocytes were prepared by collagenase digestion in orbital shaking incubators maintained at varying speeds. Contrary to expectation, the isolation-induced release of IL-6 was attenuated by increasing the rotational speed of digestion and the concentration of collagenase, both of which resulted in rapid dissociation of adipocytes from the vasculature. In addition, the attenuation of IL-6 secretion was associated with decreased phosphorylation of the stress-related p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38 MAPK) and preserved insulin action. The data suggest that optimization of parameters including, but not limited to, mincing technique, time of digestion, and collagenase concentration will make it possible to isolate primary adipocytes without activation of a proinflammatory response leading to elevated secretion of IL-6.

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