The human visceral fat depot has a unique inflammatory profile

Obesity (Silver Spring). 2010 May;18(5):879-83. doi: 10.1038/oby.2010.22.


Obesity can be considered as a low-grade inflammatory condition, strongly linked to adverse metabolic outcomes. Obesity-associated adipose tissue inflammation is characterized by infiltration of macrophages and increased cytokine and chemokine production. The distribution of adipose tissue impacts the outcomes of obesity, with the accumulation of fat in visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and deep subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT), but not superficial SAT, being linked to insulin resistance. We hypothesized that the inflammatory gene expression in deep SAT and VAT is higher than in superficial SAT. A total of 17 apparently healthy women (BMI: 29.3 +/- 5.5 kg/m2) were included in the study. Body fat (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry) and distribution (computed tomography) were measured, and insulin sensitivity, blood lipids, and blood pressure were determined. Inflammation-related differences in gene expression(real-time PCR) from VAT, superficial and deep SAT biopsies were analyzed using univariate and multivariate data analyses. Using multivariate discrimination analysis, VAT appeared as a distinct depot in adipose tissue inflammation,while the SAT depots had a similar pattern, with respect to gene expression. A significantly elevated (P < 0.01)expression of the CC chemokine receptor 2 (CCR2) and macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) in VAT contributed strongly to the discrimination. In conclusion, the human adipose tissue depots have unique inflammatory patterns, with CCR2 and MIF distinguishing between VAT and the SAT depots.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity / physiology*
  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Blood Pressure / genetics
  • Body Mass Index
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / diagnostic imaging
  • Inflammation / genetics*
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / diagnostic imaging
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / metabolism*
  • Intramolecular Oxidoreductases / genetics
  • Intramolecular Oxidoreductases / metabolism
  • Lipids / blood
  • Macrophage Migration-Inhibitory Factors / genetics
  • Macrophage Migration-Inhibitory Factors / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Obesity / diagnostic imaging
  • Obesity / genetics
  • Patient Selection
  • Radiography
  • Receptors, CCR2 / genetics
  • Receptors, CCR2 / metabolism
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Subcutaneous Fat / diagnostic imaging
  • Subcutaneous Fat / metabolism
  • Waist Circumference


  • CCR2 protein, human
  • Insulin
  • Lipids
  • Macrophage Migration-Inhibitory Factors
  • Receptors, CCR2
  • Intramolecular Oxidoreductases
  • MIF protein, human