We recently reported that a preponderance of small adipose cells, decreased expression of cell differentiation markers, and enhanced inflammatory activity in human subcutaneous whole adipose tissue were associated with insulin resistance. To test the hypothesis that small adipocytes exhibited these differential properties, we characterised small adipocytes from epididymal adipose tissue of Zucker Obese (ZO) and Lean (ZL) rats. Rat epididymal fat pads were removed and adipocytes isolated by collagenase digestion. Small adipocytes were separated by sequential filtration through nylon meshes. Adipocytes were fixed in osmium tetroxide for cell size distribution analysis via Beckman Coulter Multisizer. Quantitative real-time PCR for cell differentiation and inflammatory genes was performed. Small adipocytes represented a markedly greater percentage of the total adipocyte population in ZO than ZL rats (58±4% vs. 12±3%, p<0.001). In ZO rats, small as compared with total adipocytes had 4-fold decreased adiponectin, and 4-fold increased visfatin and IL-6 levels. Comparison of small adipocytes in ZO versus ZL rats revealed 3-fold decreased adiponectin and PPAR? levels, and 2.5-fold increased IL-6. In conclusion, ZO rat adipose tissue harbours a large proportion of small adipocytes that manifest impaired cell differentiation and pro-inflammatory activity, two mechanisms by which small adipocytes may contribute to insulin resistance.
View details for DOI 10.1177/1479164110386126
View details for Web of Science ID 000285080700008
View details for PubMedID 20961992