Macrophages in human visceral adipose tissue: increased accumulation in obesity and a source of resistin and visfatin

Diabetologia. 2006 Apr;49(4):744-7. doi: 10.1007/s00125-006-0173-z. Epub 2006 Feb 23.


Aims/hypothesis: Increased visceral white adipose tissue (WAT) is linked to the risk of developing diabetes.

Methods/results: We showed by fluorescence activated cell sorting analysis that human visceral WAT contains macrophages, the proportion of which increased with obesity. Selective isolation of mature adipocytes and macrophages from human visceral WAT by CD14 immunoselection revealed that macrophages expressed higher levels of chemokines (monocyte chemotactic protein 1, macrophage inflammatory protein 1alpha, IL-8) and the adipokines resistin and visfatin than did mature adipocytes, as assessed by real-time PCR analysis. Moreover, resistin and visfatin proteins were found to be released predominantly by visceral WAT macrophages. Macrophage-derived secretory products stimulated phosphorylation of protein kinase B in human hepatocytes.

Conclusions/interpretation: Resistin and visfatin might be considered to be proinflammatory markers. The increased macrophage population in obese human visceral WAT might be responsible for the enhanced production of chemokines as well as resistin and visfatin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Fat / metabolism*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cell Movement
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lipopolysaccharide Receptors / metabolism
  • Macrophages / cytology
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nicotinamide Phosphoribosyltransferase
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Resistin / metabolism*


  • Cytokines
  • Lipopolysaccharide Receptors
  • Resistin
  • Nicotinamide Phosphoribosyltransferase
  • nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase, human