Adipose tissue macrophage (ATM)-driven inflammation plays a key role in insulin resistance; however, factors activating ATMs are poorly understood. Using a proteomics approach, we show that markers of classical activation are absent on ATMs from obese humans but are readily detectable on airway macrophages of patients with cystic fibrosis, a disease associated with chronic bacterial infection. Moreover, treating macrophages with glucose, insulin, and palmitate-conditions characteristic of the metabolic syndrome-produces a "metabolically activated" phenotype distinct from classical activation. Markers of metabolic activation are expressed by proinflammatory ATMs in obese humans/mice and are positively correlated with adiposity. Metabolic activation is driven by independent proinflammatory and anti-inflammatory pathways, which regulate balance between cytokine production and lipid metabolism. We identify PPARγ and p62/SQSTM1 as two key proteins that promote lipid metabolism and limit inflammation in metabolically activated macrophages. Collectively, our data provide important mechanistic insights into pathways that drive the metabolic-disease-specific phenotype of macrophages.
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