Gene expression regional differences in human subcutaneous adipose tissueReport as inadecuate

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BMC Genomics

, 18:202

Human and rodent genomics


BackgroundAccumulation of visceral adipose tissue VAT is clearly associated with an increased risk of obesity-related diseases and all-cause mortality, whereas gluteal subcutaneous fat accumulation g-SAT is associated with a lower risk. The relative contribution, in term of cardiovascular risk, of abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue a-SAT is still controversial with studies showing both a detrimental effect and a protective role.

Animal and in vitro studies demonstrated that adipocytes from visceral and subcutaneous depots have distinct morphological, metabolic and functional characteristics. These regional differences have a key role in the pathogenesis of obesity-related diseases. There is recent evidence that differentiation between upper-body and lower-body adipose tissues might be under control of site-specific sets of developmental genes, such as Homebox HOX genes, a group of related genes that control the body plan of an embryo along the anterior-posterior axis. However, the possible heterogeneity between different subcutaneous regions has not been extensively investigated.

Here we studied global mRNA expression in g-SAT and a-SAT with a microarray approach. RNA was isolated from g-SAT and a-SAT biopsy, from eight healthy subjects, and hybridized on RNA microarray chips in order to detect regional differences in gene expression.

ResultsA total of 131 genes are significantly and differently >1.5 fold change, p < 0.05 expressed in a-SAT and g-SAT. Expression profiling reveals significant differences in expression of several HOX genes. Interestingly, two molecular signature of visceral adipocyte lineage, homebox genes HOXA5 and NR2F1, are up-regulated in a-SAT versus g-SAT by a 2.5 fold change.

ConclusionsOur study shows that g-SAT and a-SAT have distinct expression profiles. The finding of a different expression of HOX genes, fundamental during the embryo development, suggests an early regional differentiation of subcutaneous adipose depots. Moreover, the higher expression of HOXA5 and NR2F1, two molecular signatures of visceral adipocytes, in a-SAT suggests that this subcutaneous adipose depot could be more similar to VAT than g-SAT.

Our data suggest that we should look at SAT as composed of distinct depots with possibly different impact in obesity associated metabolic complications.

KeywordsObesity Microarray Adipose tissue SAT VAT Homeobox genes Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-s12864-017-3564-2 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Angelina Passaro - Maria Agata Miselli - Juana Maria Sanz - Edoardo Dalla Nora - Mario Luca Morieri - Rossella Colonna - R



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