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FASEB J. 1999 Feb;13(2):305-12.

A role for preadipocytes as macrophage-like cells.

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ESA 5018-UPS CNRS, IFR 31, CHU Rangueil, 31403 Toulouse Cédex, France.


Several lines of evidence have supported a link betweeen adipose tissue and immunocompetent cells. This link is illustrated in obesity, where excess adiposity and impaired immune function have been described in both humans and genetically obese rodents. In addition, numerous factors involved in inflammatory response are secreted by both preadipocytes and macrophages. Here we show that proliferating preadipocytes in cell lines and primary cultures, develop phagocytic activity toward microorganisms. This is demonstrated by phagocytosis assays and confocal microscopy. This function disappears when preadipocytes stop proliferating and differentiate into adipocytes. After phagocytosis, preadipocytes show microbicide activity via an oxygen-dependent mechanism. In addition, preadipocytes as well as adipocytes are stained with MOMA-2, a marker of monocyte-macrophage lineage, but are negative for specific mature macrophage markers (F4/80 and Mac-1). These results suggest that preadipocytes could function as macrophage-like cells and raise the possibility of a potential direct involvement of adipose tissue in inflammatory processes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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