Differential expression and localization of 12/15 lipoxygenases in adipose tissue in human obese subjects

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2010 Dec 17;403(3-4):485-90. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2010.11.065. Epub 2010 Nov 19.


Adipose tissue inflammation in obesity is a major factor leading to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.12/15 lipoxygenases (ALOX) play an important role in the generation of inflammatory mediators, insulin resistance and downstream immune activation in animal models of obesity. However, the expression and roles of 12/15ALOX isoforms, and their cellular sources in human subcutaneous (sc) and omental (om) fat in obesity is unknown. The objective of this study was to examine the gene expression and localization of ALOX isoforms and relevant downstream cytokines in subcutaneous (sc) and omental (om) adipose tissue in obese humans. Paired biopsies of sc and om fat were obtained during bariatric surgeries from 24 morbidly obese patients. Gene and protein expression for ALOX15a, ALOX15b and ALOX 12 were measured by real-time PCR and western blotting in adipocytes and stromal vascular fractions (SVF) from om and sc adipose tissue along with the mRNA expression of the downstream cytokines IL-12a, IL-12b, IL-6, IFNγ and the chemokine CXCL10. In a paired analysis, all ALOX isoforms, IL-6, IL-12a and CXCL10 were significantly higher in om vs. sc fat. ALOX15a mRNA and protein expression was found exclusively in om fat. All of the ALOX isoforms were expressed solely in the SVF. Further fractionation of the SVF in CD34+ and CD34- cells indicated that ALOX15a is predominantly expressed in the CD34+ fraction including vascular and progenitor cells, while ALOX15B is mostly expressed in the CD34- cells containing various leucocytes and myeloid cells. This result was confirmed by immunohistochemistry showing exclusive localization of ALOX15a in the om fat and predominantly in the vasculature and non-adipocyte cells. Our finding is identifying selective expression of ALOX15a in human om but not sc fat. This is a study showing a major inflammatory gene exclusively expressed in visceral fat in humans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / enzymology*
  • Adult
  • Arachidonate 12-Lipoxygenase / genetics
  • Arachidonate 12-Lipoxygenase / metabolism*
  • Arachidonate 15-Lipoxygenase / genetics
  • Arachidonate 15-Lipoxygenase / metabolism*
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / genetics
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / enzymology*


  • 12-15-lipoxygenase
  • Cytokines
  • Isoenzymes
  • Arachidonate 12-Lipoxygenase
  • Arachidonate 15-Lipoxygenase