Long Non-Coding RNAs Associated with Metabolic Traits in Human White Adipose Tissue

EBioMedicine. 2018 Apr:30:248-260. doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2018.03.010. Epub 2018 Mar 15.


Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) belong to a recently discovered class of molecules proposed to regulate various cellular processes. Here, we systematically analyzed their expression in human subcutaneous white adipose tissue (WAT) and found that a limited set was differentially expressed in obesity and/or the insulin resistant state. Two lncRNAs herein termed adipocyte-specific metabolic related lncRNAs, ASMER-1 and ASMER-2 were enriched in adipocytes and regulated by both obesity and insulin resistance. Knockdown of either ASMER-1 or ASMER-2 by antisense oligonucleotides in in vitro differentiated human adipocytes revealed that both genes regulated adipogenesis, lipid mobilization and adiponectin secretion. The observed effects could be attributed to crosstalk between ASMERs and genes within the master regulatory pathways for adipocyte function including PPARG and INSR. Altogether, our data demonstrate that lncRNAs are modulators of the metabolic and secretory functions in human fat cells and provide an emerging link between WAT and common metabolic conditions.

Keywords: Adipocytes; Adiponectin; Lipolysis; Long non-coding RNAs; Metabolic traits; White adipose tissue.

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / cytology
  • Adipocytes / metabolism
  • Adipogenesis / genetics
  • Adipose Tissue, White / metabolism*
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance / genetics
  • Obesity / genetics
  • Quantitative Trait, Heritable*
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / genetics
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / metabolism*
  • Transcriptome / genetics


  • RNA, Long Noncoding