Effects of tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha) on glucose transport and lipid metabolism of newly-differentiated human fat cells in cell culture

Diabetologia. 1995 Jul;38(7):764-71. doi: 10.1007/s001250050350.


Tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha) has been found to cause a delipidation of fat cells and a decrease of the adipose tissue mass. In the present study, we tried to elucidate some of the mechanisms responsible for this phenomenon by investigating the action of TNF alpha on specific pathways which are involved in lipid storage. Cultured stromal cells from human adipose tissue were induced to differentiate into adipose cells by exposure to adipogenic factors and subsequently used for studying the effects of TNF alpha on fat cell metabolism. Presence of 5 nmol/l TNF alpha for 24 h resulted in a complete loss of the stimulatory effect of insulin on 2-deoxy-glucose transport. This inhibitory action was paralleled by a decrease of GLUT4 protein and mRNA levels. The amount of cellular GLUT4 protein was reduced by 49 +/- 3% after a 24-h exposure and by 82 +/- 18% after a 72-h exposure to 5 nmol/l TNF alpha. GLUT4 mRNA was almost undetectable after a 24-h incubation with 5 nmol/l TNF alpha. In a similar time-dependent manner, TNF alpha dramatically reduced the lipoprotein lipase mRNA content of the cells. Furthermore, incubation of cultured human fat cells with TNF alpha resulted in a marked dose-dependent stimulation of lipolysis, assessed by glycerol release, by up to 400% above controls, which became apparent after a 6-h exposure at the earliest.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / cytology
  • Adipose Tissue / drug effects
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Biological Transport / drug effects
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Fractionation
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism
  • Cell Membrane / ultrastructure
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Deoxyglucose / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Glucose Transporter Type 1
  • Glucose Transporter Type 4
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism*
  • Lipoprotein Lipase / biosynthesis
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins / drug effects
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins / metabolism*
  • Muscle Proteins*
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / pharmacology*


  • Glucose Transporter Type 1
  • Glucose Transporter Type 4
  • Monosaccharide Transport Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • SLC2A1 protein, human
  • SLC2A4 protein, human
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Deoxyglucose
  • Lipoprotein Lipase
  • Glucose