Low steady-state oxidative stress inhibits adipogenesis by altering mitochondrial dynamics and decreasing cellular respiration

Redox Biol. 2020 May;32:101507. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2020.101507. Epub 2020 Mar 16.


Adipogenesis is a fundamental process of white adipose tissue function, supporting lipid storage and release, while avoiding its spillover and ectopic accumulation in tissues and organs. During aging adipogenesis is impaired and among other factors, oxidative stress contributes to this process. Adipogenesis requires functional and dynamic mitochondria; however, this organelle itself becomes dysfunctional during aging and accounts for most of reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Here, we evaluated whether oxidative stress impairs adipogenesis through functional impairment of mitodynamics by utilizing hyperoxia as a continuous source of oxidative stress while maintaining cellular viability. This negatively impacted mitochondrial function, including respiration and dynamics and ultimately blocked adipogenesis. Interestingly, this state was reversible by using the antidiabetic drug, Rosiglitazone, which reduced oxidative stress, restored mitochondrial dynamics and respiration and augmented adipogenesis. Moreover, in vitro results were in agreement with in vivo models of oxidative stress and aging, in which mice depleted of the superoxide dismutase enzyme 1 (SOD1) and old wild-type C57BL/6JRj mice demonstrated the same trend of adipogenic potential. Importantly, in humans the results follow the same pattern, showing a downregulation of adipogenic markers during aging. Since the levels of oxidative stress and peripheral insulin resistance increase with age, while adipogenesis decreases during aging, our model helps to understand a possible way to overcome physiologically low, steady stress conditions and restore adipogenesis, avoiding accumulation of deleterious hypertrophic adipocytes in favor of beneficial hyperplasia.

Keywords: Adipogenesis; Hyperoxia; Mitochondrial dysfunction; Oxidative stress; Rosiglitazone.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipogenesis*
  • Animals
  • Cell Respiration
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mitochondrial Dynamics*
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Reactive Oxygen Species


  • Reactive Oxygen Species