Differentiation-dependent expression of interferon gamma and toll-like receptor 9 in 3T3-F442A adipocytes

Biochimie. 2007 May;89(5):669-75. doi: 10.1016/j.biochi.2007.01.003. Epub 2007 Jan 21.


3T3-F442A and BFC-1 cells are widely used for studying adipocyte differentiation and metabolism. Macrophage markers were previously reported in these cell lines. We examined whether 3T3-F442A and BFC-1 would produce interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma), the expression of which is a matter of debate in cells other than T-lymphocytes and natural killer cells, like macrophages or dendritic. IFN-gamma was absent from preadipocytes. However 3T3-F442A, but not BFC-1, presented a differentiation-dependent induction of IFN-gamma mRNA and protein. Immunofluorescence studies showed that IFN-gamma was located in mature adipocytes. IFN-gamma was retrieved in the culture medium. Then, we examined the expression of other markers of T-lymphocytes or macrophages, like the CD3/T-cell receptor complex or Toll-like receptors (TLR) -2 and -9, in these cells. Transcripts for the three subunits of CD3 were undetectable whatever the differentiation stage. In contrast, TLR-2 and -9 genes were expressed differentially during the differentiation process. TLR-2 mRNA was induced early then decreased while TLR9 transcript appeared at later days and increased in parallel to IFN-gamma. In contrast to what was expected from 3T3-F442A cells, IFN-gamma was absent from adipocytes isolated either from subcutaneous or periepidydimal mouse adipose tissue. However, TLR-2 and -9 mRNAs were present in both adipose depots although at various levels. Hence, we detect the presence of two markers of innate immunity, TLR-2 and -9, in in vivo-derived adipocytes and we demonstrate that differentiated 3T3-F442A cells selectively express IFN-gamma and TLR-9 in a manner that resembles what is occurring for natural killer dendritic cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3 Cells
  • Adipocytes / cytology*
  • Adipocytes / immunology
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / immunology
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Interferon-gamma / genetics*
  • Mice
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Toll-Like Receptor 9 / genetics*


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Tlr9 protein, mouse
  • Toll-Like Receptor 9
  • Interferon-gamma