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J Nutr Biochem. 2013 Sep;24(9):1571-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2013.01.007. Epub 2013 Mar 22.

Regulation of thrombospondin-1 expression in alternatively activated macrophages and adipocytes: role of cellular cross talk and omega-3 fatty acids.

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Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40536, USA.


Thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1) expression in human adipose positively correlates with body mass index and may contribute to adipose dysfunction by activating transforming growth factor-β and/or inhibiting angiogenesis. Our objective was to determine how TSP-1 is regulated in adipocytes and polarized macrophages using a coculture system and to determine whether fatty acids, including the ω-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), regulate TSP-1 expression. Coculture of M1, M2a or M2c macrophages with adipocytes induced TSP-1 gene expression in adipocytes (from 2.4- to 4.2-fold, P<.05), and adipocyte coculture induced TSP-1 gene expression in M1 and M2c macrophages (M1: 8.6-fold, M2c: 26-fold; P<.05). TSP-1 protein levels in the shared media of adipocytes and M2c cells were also strongly induced by coculture (>10-fold, P<.05). DHA treatment during the coculture of adipocytes and M2c macrophages potently inhibited the M2c macrophage TSP-1 mRNA level (97% inhibition, P<.05). Adipocyte coculture induced interleukin (IL)-10 expression in M2c macrophages (10.1-fold, P<.05), and this increase in IL-10 mRNA expression was almost completely blocked with DHA treatment (96% inhibition, P<.05); thus, IL-10 expression closely paralleled TSP-1 expression. Since IL-10 has been shown to regulate TSP-1 in other cell types, we reduced IL-10 expression with siRNA in the M2c cells and found that this caused TSP-1 to be reduced in response to adipocyte coculture by 60% (P<.05), suggesting that IL-10 regulates TSP-1 expression in M2c macrophages. These results suggest that supplementation with dietary ω-3 fatty acids could potentially be beneficial to adipose tissue in obesity by reducing TSP-1 and fibrosis.


ADHASC; Adipocyte; CTGF; DHA; Docosahexaenoic acid; ECM; EPA; FFA; IL-10; Macrophage; PMA; TLR; TSP-1; Thrombospondin-1; Toll like receptor; adult-derived human adipose stem cell; connective tissue growth factor; docosahexaenoic acid; eicosapentaenoic acid; extracellular matrix; free fatty acid; phorbal myristate acetate; thrombospondin-1

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