Macrophage VLDLR mediates obesity-induced insulin resistance with adipose tissue inflammation

Nat Commun. 2017 Oct 20;8(1):1087. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-01232-w.


Obesity is closely associated with increased adipose tissue macrophages (ATMs), which contribute to systemic insulin resistance and altered lipid metabolism by creating a pro-inflammatory environment. Very low-density lipoprotein receptor (VLDLR) is involved in lipoprotein uptake and storage. However, whether lipid uptake via VLDLR in macrophages affects obesity-induced inflammatory responses and insulin resistance is not well understood. Here we show that elevated VLDLR expression in ATMs promotes adipose tissue inflammation and glucose intolerance in obese mice. In macrophages, VLDL treatment upregulates intracellular levels of C16:0 ceramides in a VLDLR-dependent manner, which potentiates pro-inflammatory responses and promotes M1-like macrophage polarization. Adoptive transfer of VLDLR knockout bone marrow to wild-type mice relieves adipose tissue inflammation and improves insulin resistance in diet-induced obese mice. These findings suggest that increased VLDL-VLDLR signaling in ATMs aggravates adipose tissue inflammation and insulin resistance in obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / immunology
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance / immunology*
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Receptors, LDL / metabolism*


  • Receptors, LDL
  • VLDL receptor