MiRNA expression profile of human subcutaneous adipose and during adipocyte differentiation

PLoS One. 2010 Feb 2;5(2):e9022. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009022.


Background: Potential regulators of adipogenesis include microRNAs (miRNAs), small non-coding RNAs that have been recently shown related to adiposity and differentially expressed in fat depots. However, to date no study is available, to our knowledge, regarding miRNAs expression profile during human adipogenesis. Thereby, the aim of this study was to investigate whether miRNA pattern in human fat cells and subcutaneous adipose tissue is associated to obesity and co-morbidities and whether miRNA expression profile in adipocytes is linked to adipogenesis.

Methodology/principal findings: We performed a global miRNA expression microarray of 723 human and 76 viral mature miRNAs in human adipocytes during differentiation and in subcutaneous fat samples from non-obese (n = 6) and obese with (n = 9) and without (n = 13) Type-2 Diabetes Mellitus (DM-2) women. Changes in adipogenesis-related miRNAs were then validated by RT-PCR. Fifty of 799 miRNAs (6.2%) significantly differed between fat cells from lean and obese subjects. Seventy miRNAs (8.8%) were highly and significantly up or down-regulated in mature adipocytes as compared to pre-adipocytes. Otherwise, 17 of these 799 miRNAs (2.1%) were correlated with anthropometrical (BMI) and/or metabolic (fasting glucose and/or triglycerides) parameters. We identified 11 miRNAs (1.4%) significantly deregulated in subcutaneous fat from obese subjects with and without DM-2. Interestingly, most of these changes were associated with miRNAs also significantly deregulated during adipocyte differentiation.

Conclusions/significance: The remarkable inverse miRNA profile revealed for human pre-adipocytes and mature adipocytes hints at a closely crosstalk between miRNAs and adipogenesis. Such candidates may represent biomarkers and therapeutic targets for obesity and obesity-related complications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / cytology
  • Adipocytes / metabolism*
  • Adipogenesis / genetics
  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / genetics
  • Fasting / blood
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / genetics
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Subcutaneous Fat / cytology
  • Subcutaneous Fat / metabolism*
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Blood Glucose
  • MicroRNAs
  • Triglycerides

Associated data

  • GEO/GSE18469
  • GEO/GSE18470