EGFR-mediated activation of adipose tissue macrophages promotes obesity and insulin resistance

Nat Commun. 2022 Aug 10;13(1):4684. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-32348-3.


Obesity and obesity-related health complications are increasing in prevalence. Adipose tissue from obese subjects has low-grade, chronic inflammation, leading to insulin resistance. Adipose tissue macrophages (ATMs) are a source of proinflammatory cytokines that further aggravate adipocyte dysfunction. In response to a high fat diet (HFD), ATM numbers initially increase by proliferation of resident macrophages, but subsequent increases also result from infiltration in response to chemotactic signals from inflamed adipose tissue. To elucidate the underlying mechanisms regulating the increases in ATMs and their proinflammatory phenotype, we investigated the role of activation of ATM epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). A high fat diet increased expression of EGFR and its ligand amphiregulin in ATMs. Selective deletion of EGFR in ATMs inhibited both resident ATM proliferation and monocyte infiltration into adipose tissue and decreased obesity and development of insulin resistance. Therefore, ATM EGFR activation plays an important role in adipose tissue dysfunction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance* / genetics
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Obesity / metabolism


  • EGFR protein, human
  • ErbB Receptors