Activation of IRF1 in Human Adipocytes Leads to Phenotypes Associated with Metabolic Disease

Stem Cell Reports. 2017 May 9;8(5):1164-1173. doi: 10.1016/j.stemcr.2017.03.014. Epub 2017 Apr 13.


The striking rise of obesity-related metabolic disorders has focused attention on adipocytes as critical mediators of disease phenotypes. To better understand the role played by excess adipose in metabolic dysfunction it is crucial to decipher the transcriptional underpinnings of the low-grade adipose inflammation characteristic of diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Through employing a comparative transcriptomics approach, we identified IRF1 as differentially regulated between primary and in vitro-derived genetically matched adipocytes. This suggests a role as a mediator of adipocyte inflammatory phenotypes, similar to its function in other tissues. Utilizing adipose-derived mesenchymal progenitors we subsequently demonstrated that expression of IRF1 in adipocytes indeed contributes to upregulation of inflammatory processes, both in vitro and in vivo. This highlights IRF1's relevance to obesity-related inflammation and the resultant metabolic dysregulation.

Keywords: IRF1; adipose inflammation; human adipocytes; metabolic disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / cytology
  • Adipocytes / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / genetics
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Interferon Regulatory Factor-1 / genetics*
  • Interferon Regulatory Factor-1 / metabolism
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation / adverse effects
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Nude
  • Obesity / genetics
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Phenotype*
  • Transcriptome
  • Up-Regulation


  • IRF1 protein, human
  • Interferon Regulatory Factor-1