Context: Wingless-type mouse mammary tumor virus integration site family (WNT)-5A is a glycoprotein involved in the regulation of the inflammatory response by activating the noncanonical Wnt signaling pathway. Secreted frizzled-related protein (SFRP)-5 acts as a decoy receptor that binds and sequesters WNT5A, preventing activation of frizzled receptors and attenuating the noncanonical Wnt signaling.
Objective: The aim of the study was to evaluate the involvement of WNT5A and SFRP5 in obesity and obesity-related comorbidities as well as to explore their effect in visceral adipose tissue inflammation.
Patients and methods: Samples obtained from 90 subjects were used. Circulating and gene expression levels of WNT5A and SFRP5 were analyzed in different metabolic tissues. The effect of TNF-α and lipopolysaccharide on the transcript levels of WNT5A and SFRP5 in adipocytes was explored. We also investigated whether WNT5A itself can activate an inflammatory response.
Results: Increased circulating levels of WNT5A in obese patients (P < .05) were decreased (P < .001) after gastric bypass. In this line, WNT5A mRNA in visceral adipose tissue was increased (P < .05) in obese patients with gene expression levels of SFRP5 being down-regulated (P < .05). WNT5A mRNA expression was significantly enhanced (P < .01) by lipopolysaccharide and TNF-α treatment, whereas no effects were found in SFRP5 gene expression levels. Furthermore, exogenous WNT5A induced (P < .05) IL-6, IL1B, MMP2, MMP9, and SSP1 mRNA expression in human adipocyte cultures.
Conclusions: Activation of noncanonical Wnt signaling through the up-regulation of WNT5A and down-regulation of SFRP5 may promote a proinflammatory state in visceral adipose tissue contributing to the development of obesity-associated comorbidities.