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Nutr Diabetes. 2017 Apr 10;7(4):e264. doi: 10.1038/nutd.2017.15.

Human adipose tissue accumulation is associated with pro-inflammatory changes in subcutaneous rather than visceral adipose tissue.

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Laboratory for Atherosclerosis Research, Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Centre for Experimental Medicine, Prague, Czech Republic.
Transplant Surgery Department, Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Prague, Czech Republic.
2nd Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic.
Department of Clinical and Transplant Immunology, Institute for Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Prague, Czech Republic.


The importance of the involvement of adipose tissue macrophage subpopulations in obesity-related disorders is well known from different animal models, but human data are scarcer. Subcutaneous (n=44) and visceral (n=52) adipose tissues of healthy living kidney donors were obtained during living donor nephrectomy. Stromal vascular fractions were isolated and analysed by flow cytometry using CD14, CD16, CD36 and CD163 antibodies. Total macrophage numbers in subcutaneous adipose tissue increased (P=0.02) with body mass index (BMI), with a similar increase seen in the proportion of phagocytic CD14+CD16+CD36high macrophages (P<0.01). On the other hand, there was an inverse correlation between anti-inflammatory CD14+CD16-CD163+ macrophages (P<0.05) and BMI. These correlations disappeared after excluding obese subjects (BMI ⩾30 kg m-2) from the analysis. Interestingly, none of these subpopulations were significantly related to BMI in visceral adipose tissue. Obesity per se is associated with distinct, highly phagocytic macrophage accumulation in human subcutaneous adipose tissue.

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