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J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2012 Dec;67(12):1321-8. doi: 10.1093/gerona/gls200. Epub 2012 Oct 22.

Fatty acid-induced production of plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 by adipose macrophages is greater in middle-aged versus younger adult participants.

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Diabetes Research and Training Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1300 Morris Park Avenue, Belfer 709, Bronx, NY 10461, USA.



Human aging is associated with heightened risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Increased fat mass may contribute to age-related diseases by harboring inflammatory macrophages that produce metabolically important proteins such as plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1). Elevated PAI-1 concentrations have been implicated in the pathogenesis of such aging-related conditions as insulin resistance, obesity, and atherosclerosis. We have previously reported that increased plasma free fatty acid (FFA) concentrations augment both circulating PAI-1 concentrations and PAI-1 production by adipose tissue macrophages (ATMs).


Because increasing age is associated with increased infiltration and reactivity of adipose macrophages, we performed euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp studies and adipose tissue biopsies with and without elevated FFA concentrations in 31 nondiabetic participants stratified by age, to determine whether middle-aged individuals manifest heightened insulin resistance and PAI-1 production by ATMs in response to elevated nutrient signals relative to their young adult peers.


We observed that elevating FFA concentrations under euglycemic-hyperinsulinemic clamp conditions induced the same degree of insulin resistance in both middle-aged and younger body mass index-matched adults, whereas systemic PAI-1 concentrations were significantly increased in the middle-aged group. Likewise, elevated FFA and insulin concentrations induced larger increases in PAI-1 gene expression in the whole fat and ATMs of middle-aged compared with younger adult participants.


These studies reveal a heightened adipose inflammatory response to increased FFA and insulin availability in middle-aged individuals relative to younger adults, suggesting that increased susceptibility to the effects of fatty acid excess may contribute to the pathogenesis of age-related diseases.

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